China-Pakistan Equation: Is it India’s Dilemma?


 

In April, China struck 51 agreements with all-weather ally Pakistan, including the multibillion dollar economic corridor through the PoK that will expand the communist giant’s influence in India’s neighbourhood.

Before we deep dive, let’s first know historical background

Kashmir_region_2004
India claims the entire erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir based on an instrument of accession signed in 1947. Pakistan claims Jammu and Kashmir based on its majority Muslim population, whereas China claims the Shaksam Valley and Aksai Chin.

  • The origin of the Sino-Pak equation could be traced in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), finds root to the Border Agreement of 1963, considered a milestone in China-Pakistan relations.
  • The agreement ceded the 5000 plus square mile Trans Karakorum Tract to China and served as a precursor to the Karakoram Highway, conceived later as a strategic link defining China and Pakistan’s ‘all-weather friendship’.
  • The then Defence Minister of India, Krishna Menon, elaborately enunciated India’s position on the issue at the UN, condemning the agreement as illegitimate.
  • Besides, India lodged an “emphatic protest” to China and conveyed its concerns in a letter of protest.
  • Decades down the line, while India’s policy orientation and broader claim on Gilgit Baltistan remains unchanged, its stance on Chinese investments in the Karakoram Highway, and Chinese efforts to leverage this territorial link to build a strategic corridor, is perceived to be weakening over time.

What is the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project?

  • The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is biggest connectivity project aims to connect Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan to China’s northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang, via a network of highways, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas.
  • The economic corridor is considered central to China–Pakistan relations and will run about 3,000 km from Gwadar to Kashgar.
  • The Corridor is an extension of China’s proposed 21st century Silk Road initiative.
  • According to a Firstpost report, this is the biggest overseas investment by China announced yet and the corridor is expected to be operational within 3 years.

Why Gwadar Port is strategically so important to China?

  • Gwadar forms the crux of the CPEC project, as it is envisaged to be the link between China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) in Maritime Silk Road project.
  • In total, more than $1 billion worth of projects are to be developed around the port of Gwadar by December 2017.

But, what are the geopolitical reasons to China’s OBOR project?


  • There are compelling geopolitical reasons, such as energy security, for China to push forward with its One Belt, One Road plans at a time when its trading partners are potentially excluding it from strategic agreements.
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Japan agreement show comprehensive liberalisation agendas, but do not include China and have the potential to increase trading costs.
  • In response, China plans to negotiate free-trade agreements with 65 countries along the OBOR.
  • Until now China has signed 12 free-trade agreements including Singapore, Pakistan, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Iceland, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • Further 8 are under negotiation with Japan, Korea, Australia, Sri Lanka, Norway, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Asean and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

How will CPEC benefits to Pakistan ? Is it a Game changer for Pak?

  • China and Pakistan hope the massive investment plan will transform Pakistan into a regional economic hub as well as further boost the growing ties between Pakistan and China.
  • The CPEC is considered a significant project that seeks to cement Sino-Pakistan bilateral ties and further consolidate their strategic ties.
  • According to The Guardian, “The Chinese are not just offering to build much-needed infrastructure but also make Pakistan a key partner in its grand economic and strategic ambitions.”

What’s the claim from India in CPEC?

  • The corridor will run through India’s periphery, more significantly, Gilgit Baltistan, claimed by India as part of the erstwhile princely state of J&K.
  • In due course, this geographical reality of the CPEC could potentially impinge upon India’s geopolitical calculations and pose a strategic challenge.

How does China look at CPEC?

  • In December 2014, the Chinese state-run Xinhua published a statement announcing the closure of the strategic Khunjerab Pass and in the process referred to Gilgit Baltistan as part of Pakistan.
  • Until then, China had maintained that J&K was a bilateral problem/dispute between India and Pakistan.
  • Whether terming Gilgit Baltistan as part of Pakistan reflected a possible shift in the Chinese position on the J&K— a change from its previously held neutral position – was debated in the Indian media for a while.
  • In the Gilgit Baltistan segment, the CPEC project design includes a major expansion of the Karakoram Highway, establishing industrial parks in special economic zones, constructing hydropower projects, railway line and road building.
  • The project also entails building hydropower projects and motorways/highways in the so-called Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

What’s the India’s claim and response to it?

  • India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan, noted: “India has no worry over the construction of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor as an economically strong Pakistan would bring stability in the region.”
  • India is yet to comprehensively articulate its approach towards the CPEC despite the fact that the corridor bodes strategic implications for India.
  • The corridor will pass through the Gilgit Baltistan region where China has invested in the past in infrastructure and hydropower projects.
  • India has occasionally raised objections to Chinese infrastructure investment in the region.
  • New Delhi’s move to raise objections to Pakistan’s plan of holding an election in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Gilgit-Baltistan region may appear to be an afterthought.
  • In fact, the belated assertion of a simple principle: In a dispute, express your maximal position, rather than the one you will compromise on.

Is it India’s Dilemma?

  • Is it because of a realization that in a changed strategic landscape, the options for India vis-a-vis a project like CPEC are limited and complicated?
  • Is India conflicted about whether to engage itself in the mega connectivity network project or stay out of it in accordance with its stated position on Gilgit Baltistan and the so-called AJK?

 


 

How does it pose a policy challenge to India?

  • Participating in the project would require a major alteration in India’s policy.
  • Overlooking the territorial dimension could be interpreted as a massive climb-down from its stated position.
  • It may even be construed as acquiescing to the China-Pakistan alliance in the region and beyond.
  • Thus, the CPEC poses a policy challenge to India on how best to strike a precarious balance between securing its strategic/territorial interests without at the same time being confrontational.
  • Charting a policy course is essential since China has, of late, through stray remarks extended an invitation for India to participate in the Silk Route ‘one route one belt’ project.

How will CPEC get materialised despite scepticism?

  • Ironically, in Pakistan itself, there is growing cynicism about the CPEC’s prospects and feasibility because of security-related concerns and inter-provincial political discord on route preferences.
  • Nevertheless, given the Chinese determination to find a route to oil-rich West Asia through Pakistan, and the Pakistani desperation to provide every possible assurance to China about safeguarding its investments, the project is likely to be implemented, even if its scope may be limited.
  • One has to remember that China and Pakistan have weathered geographical and logistical extremes in the past to build the highest metalled road on one of the toughest terrain, i.e. the Karakoram Highway.
  • Moreover, the Pakistani decision to raise a special security division to protect Chinese workers and interests in Pakistan, indicates its resolve to implement the project in all earnestness.

The Way forward

  • While India’s overall stance on PoK remains understated, the commencement of the CPEC warrants more serious attention than what has been accorded so far.
  • There is a need to carefully weigh the situation and devise a suitable and sustainable approach that could serve India’s long-term interests.
  • It is imperative that some of the explicit strategic concerns regarding the CPEC figure in the bilateral round of talks during the Indian Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to Pakistan.

What do you think on such a big triangular geostrategic politics? How will it resolved from Sino-India relations? Let us know!


 

Published with inputs from Arun | Image: Wikipedia

Any doubts?


  1. Profile photo of directionless arrows directionless arrows

    As China wants India to join CPEC and OBOR , India should upheld diplomatically its keenness to join CPEC only if China is willing to change its route through Gilgit – baltistan region and if it is impossible for China to change its route then it must recognize India’s sovereignty over Gilgit – Baltistan , if any one of these two is fulfilled then India should join .. There has to be clear cut strategic interests of India with a touch of helping hand from Delhi to Beijing in China’s ambitious OBOR project.

  2. Profile photo of Alwoodlands Residency Ooty Alwoodlands Residency Ooty

    nice

  3. Profile photo of Sankalp Singh Sankalp Singh

    If Possible, India must use that route to its advantage. Well, Dealing china isnt easy but now we have to be act wise, frowning wont work here.

  4. Profile photo of Aditya kumar Aditya kumar

    Considering the strategic implication of supporting CPEC India should comprehensively work out with Pakistan as well China to realise a soft border . Without solving the border and kashmir dispute it will be a strategic loss to INDIA.

  5. Profile photo of S Giri S Giri

    Sorry.about sports news

  6. Profile photo of S Giri S Giri

    Why have not you been answering about news?

ICJ stays Jadhav execution

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate

Important achievement for Indian diplomacy. India has went all in to make sure a safe return of Kulbhushan Jadhav and is using every resource at its disposal to ensure the same. We have covered this issue in detail previously.
From UPSC perspective, following things are important:
Prelims level: ICJ, Vienna convention, other such international protocols.
Mains level: Security of defence personnel overseas, India’s proactive diplomacy, stand towards Pakistan and other related issues.

News:

  1. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the execution of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav

Legal milestone:

  1. The ICJ, popularly known as the ‘world court’, ordered Pakistan to “take all measures at its disposal” to prevent the execution of Mr. Jadhav
  2. The decision was adopted unanimously

Argument accepted

  1. The court accepted India’s argument that the failure by Pakistan to provide required consular notification and access fell under the scope of Article 1 of the Optional Protocol of the Vienna Convention of Human Rights
  2. Also, the 2008 bilateral agreement on consular relations does not impact jurisdiction of Vienna Convention

[op-ed snap] The Gilgit- Baltistan feint

Context:

  1. Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has been in the news recently due to the March 14 revelation of a Pakistani minister that the government was considering making it the fifth province of Pakistan
  2. This was pursuant to the recommendations of a committee headed by the adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz

GB:

  1. GB is one of the two parts of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), the other being the so-called “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” (“AJK”)
  2. Both formed part of the territory of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)
  3. GB has an area of 72,000 sq km and comprises about 85 per cent of the total area of PoK
  4. Despite its strategic location — providing land access to China, containing vast reservoirs of fresh water and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through it, GB does not form part of the territory of Pakistan

Is GB part of Pakistan?

  1. The territory was handed over on a platter to the newly created state of Pakistan in November 1947 by the action of a British officer of the Gilgit Scouts
  2. Despite being in the service of the Maharaja of Kashmir, he revolted and joined Pakistan
  3. Instead of being court-martialled, he was rewarded by the British with an MBE in 1948, quite possibly because he was working on their instructions rather than those of the Maharaja
  4. Posthumously, the Pakistan government also decorated him with the Sitara-e-Pakistan
  5. The proposition of making GB a fifth province is not new
  6. Each time, the conclusion has been that GB is part of J&K and any such move would seriously damage Pakistan’s Kashmir case
  7. Additionally, Pakistan was also hedging its bets in case it needed the Muslim-majority population of the area to vote for it in a plebiscite

Background:

  1. The impediments Pakistan faces in making GB its fifth province are many
  2. Two UN resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 clearly established a link between GB and the Kashmir issue
  3. Pakistan was faced with two issues in the UN resolutions: First, the August 13 resolution mentioned that “pending a final solution, territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administered by the ‘local authorities’”
  4. Second, GB was Shia-dominated and Pakistan was apprehensive of setting up a Shia state in its north
  5. The Shia Political Conference had opposed Jinnah’s two-nation theory and saw few opportunities for themselves in an overwhelmingly Sunni Pakistan
  6. Not surprisingly, Pakistan has been deliberately altering the ethnic and religious balance in the region
  7. To circumvent these issues, Pakistan arranged to have the Karachi Agreement of April 28, 1949, signed by Mushtaq Gurmani, Pakistan’s “minister without portfolio”, Sardar Ibrahim Khan, the president of “Azad Kashmir” and Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas, head of the Muslim Conference
  8. There was no representative from GB
  9. With this agreement, the administration of GB was handed over to Pakistan by those who had no locus standi on the issue
  10. The agreement was kept secret and its existence revealed for the first time in a judgment of the “AJK” High Court in 1993

Violation of laws:

  1. Making GB its fifth province would thus violate the Karachi Agreement — perhaps the only instrument that provides doubtful legal authority to Pakistan’s administration of GB — as well as the UN resolutions that would damage its position on the Kashmir issue
  2. Any such move would also be violative of the 1963 Pak-China Boundary Agreement that calls for the sovereign authority to reopen negotiations with China “after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India” and of the 1972 Simla Agreement that mentions that “neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation”
  3. Several court verdicts have averred that GB is a part of J&K
  4. The most notable is the 1993 “AJK” High Court verdict
  5. The order was set aside in 1994 by the “AJK” Supreme Court that held that GB was a part of J&K state as it existed until 1948
  6. Pakistan would also have to overcome the adverse reaction of Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC
  7. While it can manage the reaction of people in “AJK”, its constituency in J&K would be seriously damaged

Why has Pakistan chosen to raise the issue?

  1. The elephant in the room is, of course, China
  2. With a $50 billion investment in the CPEC, China would hardly want the territory through which the route passes to have a dubious status
  3. India has made its concerns over the CPEC clear to China at the highest levels since the area belongs to India
  4. Quite possibly, Pakistan has raised the controversy for one of two reasons
  5. First, to tell the Chinese how difficult it is to make GB its fifth province and how this would compromise its long-standing position on the Kashmir issue
  6. China is unlikely to buy into this argument, given that $50 billion is at stake
  7. The other possibility is that Pakistan wants to give the impression of freezing its territorial ambitions in J&K in order to concentrate on the CPEC and remove any misgivings that the Chinese may have on the status of GB
  8. In effect, Pakistan would end up absorbing GB while continuing to finance and materially support the violence and unrest in Kashmir

Note4Students:

India’s statement opposing the move was timely. India has to ensure that it does not fall into a Pak-China trap to take GB off the table by making it the fifth province in the hope that Pakistan will curb its ambitions. It is unlikely that Pakistan will ever relent on the Kashmir issue.

[op-ed snap] The strange case of Kulbhushan Jadhav

Context:

  1. The military trial and summary sentencing to death of Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan, with the Indian High Commission denied consular access to him, has plunged India-Pakistan relations into a crisis again
  2. Jadhav is not the first Indian to be caught and sentenced as a spy by Pakistan, but the first retired middle-level naval officer

A diplomatic leap in the dark:

  1. The current cycle of bilateral engagement and acrimony runs from the dramatic visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore on Christmas in 2015
  2. The occasion was Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter’s wedding, but really it was a diplomatic leap in the dark
  3. As in the past, beginning with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Lahore bus journey, theatrical moves rattle anti-India forces in the Pakistani military and jihadi organisations, who then unleash retributive terrorist acts
  4. Within a week of Mr. Modi and Mr. Sharif socialising, the Pathankot airbase was attacked
  5. Tragically, within days of that, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who headed the Peoples Democratic Party’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party, died
  6. The stage was set for instability in the Kashmir Valley

Further withering:

  1. While Mufti sahib’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti dithered for nearly three months whether or not to succeed her father, the situation in Pakistan was drifting too
  2. Prime Minister Sharif, marginalised by his namesake, the Pakistani Army chief, undermined by the Panama Papers revelations and suffering from heart trouble, left for the U.K. for medical treatment in April 2016
  3. He returned to Pakistan in July
  4. By then, Ms. Mufti had barely been in office when Burhan Wani, a self-styled commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed, inflaming an already restive Valley
  5. From that point onwards, Indo-Pak relations slid downwards

Jadhav’s case:

  1. Kulbhushan Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel was arrested by Pakistan in March 2016, allegedly in Balochistan, for espionage and abetting terror
  2. This was a windfall for Pakistan as since the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the confessions of Pakistan-born American operative David Headley, it had been seeking moral equivalence by alleging complicity of India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), in almost every major attack, particularly by the renegade Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan
  3. In fact, the joint statement of Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousaf Raza Gilani at Sharm el-Sheikh in 2009 was widely condemned in India for unnecessarily allowing Pakistan to introduce Balochistan in the statement to discuss an alleged Indian hand in the Baloch uprising

Gaps in stories:

  1. There is the usual Indo-Pak disagreement over facts
  2. India claims Mr. Jadhav was conducting business out of Chabahar, Iran, for many years after retiring from the Navy, and that he has been abducted by Pakistani state or non-state actors from within Iran
  3. The fact that despite specific provisions in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, India was denied access to Mr. Jadhav only confirms that Pakistan does not want the truth to be revealed about the place and manner of arrest
  4. India also argues that spies and operatives are not sent carrying their own passports
  5. On the other hand, it is unclear why Mr. Jadhav was operating under a Muslim name, and if he did convert, why the government keeps referring to him by his earlier name
  6. India has not challenged the authenticity of his passport, implying that it was not obtained by fraud or faked by Pakistan

Fears regarding India:

  1. Prime Minister Modi’s espousal of the cause of Balochis and the residents of Gilgit from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 2016 only confirmed Pakistani fears that India abets terror and secession in Pakistan
  2. However, recent signals from Pakistan via Track II events were that the new Army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, wanted to reorient his Army’s approach towards India and would endorse the civilian government’s lead in crafting its India policy
  3. He was apparently getting a pushback from entrenched interests raised on India baiting
  4. There were unconfirmed reports that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had spoken to his Pakistani counterpart to acknowledge the signal and create an environment for resuming political contact

Why did Pakistan change tack suddenly sentenced Mr. Jadhav?

  1. One trigger could have been the disappearance of an ex-ISI Pakistani military officer in Nepal
  2. Another may be a desire to stoke further unrest in the Kashmir Valley
  3. It could also be some re-balancing between the civilian and military authorities as Prime Minister Sharif awaits court judgement on the Panama Papers charges
  4. At any rate, Pakistan has succeeded in capturing media space and the Indian government’s attention and thus mainstreaming its grouses even as a new U.S. president shapes his foreign policy
  5. The Indian opposition has adopted a jingoistic pitch to entrap a government mixing politics, religion and nationalism
  6. If assurances in Parliament are that the government will do “all” in its power to rescue Mr. Jadhav, either it is confident of a Cold War-style exchange of spies, provided they have managed to secure the asset that went missing from Nepal, or it is upping the ante hoping that Pakistan will not want to escalate tensions further

India’s perception of Pakistan:

  1. India misperceives Pakistan, as the 19th century French statesman Talleyrand said the world did Russia, as it is neither as strong as it seems nor as weak as we think
  2. For instance, it is not isolated, as policymakers in South Block assume
  3. Pakistan would have seen rising Chinese rhetoric over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang
  4. It also would read U.S. President Donald Trump’s intervention in Syria and the dropping of the ‘mother of all bombs’ in Afghanistan as the U.S. returning to business as usual and restoring the primacy of its Sunni allies, i.e. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, plus the Gulf Cooperation Council, Pakistan, and Egypt
  5. Pakistan is familiar with the generals now ruling the roost after White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s fall

Note4Students:

Many assumptions on which the Modi government has functioned in diplomacy are being rewritten. The challenge is to steer India through this maze with more than jingoism, theatre, and domestic electoral needs. Watchout for more development in India-Pakistan relations. This op-ed is important for understanding the background of Indo-Pak relations.

[op-ed snap] Kulbushan Jadhav death sentence: Risky, ill-considered

Context:

  1. Pakistan’s sudden announcement on Monday that former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav has been sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial
  2. It could lead to a rapid escalation in bilateral tensions that the region can ill afford
  3. Pakistan claims that Mr. Jadhav, who was allegedly arrested in Balochistan last year, had been plotting operations against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

The trial:

  1. The trial, sentencing, and its confirmation by the Pakistan Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, were carried out so secretly that the news took many in Pakistan as well by surprise
  2. There are glaring holes in the procedures followed by Pakistan’s government and military in the investigation and trial of Mr. Jadhav
  3. His recorded confession that was broadcast at a press conference within weeks of his arrest in March 2016 appeared to have been spliced
  4. At various points in the tape, and in the transcript of the confession made available, Mr. Jadhav contradicts his own statements, suggesting that he had been tutored

Investigation process:

  1. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s statement in Parliament details 13 requests by the government for consular access
  2. The replies from the Pakistan government made the access conditional on India cooperating in the investigation, further casts the procedures followed in a rather poor light
  3. International human rights agencies too have criticised them

Timing of this move:

  1. The timing of the announcement of the death sentence is also being seen in a spy versus spy context, with the recent disappearance of a former Pakistan Army officer in Nepal
  2. These are matters best left to security agencies at the highest level, but the questions around Mr. Jadhav’s arrest need to be dispelled

How will it affect the bilateral relations?

  1. This escalation highlights the consequences of the breakdown in the India-Pakistan dialogue process, limiting the channels of communication between the two governments to sort out matters in a sober manner
  2. The government has stood fast on its decision to not hold bilateral talks after the Pathankot attack in January 2016, but this policy is hardly likely to bring the desired results when a man’s life hangs in the balance

What should be done?

  1. Jadhav must be allowed a retrial, preferably in a civil court and with recourse to appeal
  2. New Delhi must step up its responses in the matter, as it seems to have kept it on the backburner, confining itself to fruitless, repeated representations
  3. India must also pursue the issue with Iran, where Mr. Jadhav is believed to have been based for more than a decade, and investigate how he was brought, by force or otherwise, into Pakistan
  4. The Jadhav case requires a proactive three-pronged response from India: impressing on Pakistan that the death sentence must not be carried out, explaining to the international community the flawed trial process, and sending interlocutors to open backchannels for diplomacy for Mr. Jadhav’s safe return home

Note4Students:

Note down the last paragraph which states what steps should be taken if such situation arises.

Gilgit-Baltistan to be declared a Province


  1. Pakistan is planning to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region as its fifth Province
  2. A committee headed by Advisor of Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had proposed giving the status of a Province to Gilgit-Baltistan
  3. A constitutional amendment would be made to change the status of the region
  4. The move may raise concerns in India as it borders the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
  5. Through the region, the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes
  6. Why status change? It is believed that China’s concerns about its unsettled status prompted the move
  7. It could signal a historic shift in the country’s position on the future of the wider Kashmir region
  8. Gilgit-Baltistan: It is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan
  9. It has a regional Assembly and an elected Chief Minister

Note4students:

Keep track as the issue develops. Note the current status, importance of the region and the reason for change for mains and pre both.

Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of PoK. Till now, Pakistan’s stand has been that it supports freedom for J&K. But by making Gilgit-Baltistan a province it shows that it does not support freedom for J&K, instead it wants it to be a part of Pakistan. This is opposed by the rest of PoK and also by Indian J&K separatists. If it is indeed made a province, it could lead to some major changes in the dynamics of the region.

Pakistan Parliament finally passes landmark Hindu Marriage Bill

  1. Pakistan’s Parliament has finally passed the much awaited landmark Bill to regulate marriages of minority Hindus
  2. Pakistan’s Hindus are set to get an exclusive personal law to regulate marriages after the National Assembly unanimously adopted the Hindu Marriage Bill, 2017
  3. Provision: It includes the Shadi Parath — a document similar to ‘Nikahnama’ in Muslims.
  4. The Shadi Parath will be required to be signed by a pundit and registered with the relevant government department
  5. The simple document has eight columns starting with the date of marriage, followed by the name of the union council, tehsil, town and district
  6. Both the bride and the groom have to sign the document along with one witness and the registrar
  7. The Bill will help Hindu women to get documentary proof of their marriage

Note4students:

Not very important. Just be aware of the happenings.

U.S., Russian warships in Arabian Sea for naval exercise hosted by Pak

  1. News: Warships from various countries, including Russia, China and the United States, have arrived in the Arabian Sea near Karachi to take part in a multi-nation naval exercise hosted by Pakistan
  2. Code-named as Aman (peace)-17, the five-day long exercise will start from 11 Feb in the north Arabian Sea
  3. Theme of the exercise is ‘Together for peace’
  4. It is reportedly a mega event and the warships from 36 countries will take part in the exercise.
  5. Participants: Russia, U.S., Indonesia, Australia and Turkey, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom
  6. The exercise will feature ships, aircraft, helicopters, Special Operations Forces (SOF), Explosives Ordinance Disposal (EOD), marines and observers from different navies
  7. Background: Pakistan has been organising such naval exercises since 2007 every alternate year
  8. The current exercise is the fifth of the series and will be held from February 10-14
  9. The previous four exercises were held in 2001, 2009, 2011 and 2013
  10. In 2015, only international maritime conference was held

Note4students:

Important for prelims. Details not needed. Just the name, location, host.

Pakistan tests 2,200-km range surface-to-surface missile

  1. Ababeel: Pakistan conducted the first flight test of long range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Ababeel
  2. It claimed that the missile has the capability to carry nuclear warheads and engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating the enemy’s hostile radars
  3. The missile has a maximum range of 2,200 Km
  4. The missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology
  5. The development of Ababeel Weapon System is aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment
  6. It will further reinforce deterrence, according to Pakistan
  7. Earlier: On January 9, Pakistan had conducted a test-firing of submarine-launched cruise missile “Babur-3”, having a range of 450 Km
  8. Babur-3: It is a sea-based variant of cruise missile Babur-2, which was successfully tested in December
  9. In an obvious reference to India, Pak said that a second strike capability gives Pakistan the option of a ‘measured response’ to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in the neighbourhood
  10. It incorporates state-of-the-art technology, including under water controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, duly augmented by Global Navigation, Terrain and Scene Matching System
  11. It also features terrain-hugging and sea-skimming flight capabilities that will enable it evade hostile radars

Note4students: Just know the names of the important weapons and the purpose behind them. It can be a minor tit-bit for pre or can also be quoted in mains answer.

Pakistan missiles worry U.S.; 47 entities under strict watch

  1. Context: The recent decision of the Obama administration to impose trade restrictions on seven Pakistani entities
  2. Reason: The United States government is increasingly worried over the rising range and variety of Islamabad’s missile capability
  3. Shaheen III: What has triggered the alarm bells in Washington is Shaheen-III, which has a range of 2,750 km
  4. Pakistan has officially explained its longest-range missile to date, tested for the first time in 2015, as a capability to strike the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the farthest Indian territory from its shores
  5. But the missile also has Israel in its range, along with several European countries – something that the U.S. strategic community finds unnerving

Note4students:

A strategic and security dimension in international affairs.

[op-ed snap] A year of living dangerously

  1. Context: Pakistan’s decision not to respond to India’s surgical strikes after the terrorist attack on the Army base in Uri
  2. Pakistan Army refused to admit that the surgical strikes ever took place
  3. It has since been retaliating: unstated, surreptitiously and through proxies
  4. With an attack on Indian army convoy in Kashmir’s Pampore, the armed forces in Kashmir have lost over 60 men this year alone
  5. Along with this disturbing rise in the attacks on Army camps across Jammu and Kashmir, the LoC and International Boundary (IB) in the State are also alarmingly tense today
  6. The Pakistan Army is also said to have monitored a great deal of ‘operation-related chatter’ from the Indian side
  7. Pakistan is responding to the Indian strikes in a way it is materially able to and at a time and place of its choosing
  8. Firing on the border and organising coordinated attacks on Indian Army bases/convoys through its proxies such as the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba

Note4Students:

The op-ed may not be a direct answer to any answer, but it is a view of the current situation of India, specially on the international borders.

[op-ed snap] General Raheel Sharif begun his farewell calls before his pending retirement

  1. There were speculations about a possible second term of three years for the army chief, with public pressure on PM Sharif to extend his tenure
  2. Appointment system: Pakistan’s PMs have right to “appoint” army chiefs, but do not seem to enjoy the power to “terminate” their services
  3. The civilians have rarely won the battle against the army in Pakistan. That fact makes this exit of General Sharif an important landmark
  4. Effects of this move on India: The on-time retirement of General Sharif will make no difference to the reality of the army’s dominance over the national security politics in Pakistan
  5. Delhi should not rule out change in Pakistan’s civil-military relations and examine if those changes can facilitate a more productive engagement with Islamabad
  6. Delhi’s default position has been to stay away from Pakistan’s internal politics
  7. Some policymakers in Delhi argue that it is not worth supporting the civilian leaders, who have no power to address issues of concern to Delhi such as cross-border terrorism

Pakistan risks relations in South Asia if it keeps blocking SAARC initiatives: Jaishankar

  1. Source: Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar
  2. What: South Asian nations will begin to look at other “alternatives” if Pakistan continues to “block” SAARC initiatives
  3. He said Pakistan risks relations with other SAARC countries if it doesn’t follow “basic standards of regional cooperation”
  4. Context: Pakistan’s decision to reject MFN status for India as well as India’s proposal for a SAARC motor vehicle agreement
  5. He said SAARC countries could opt for “sub-regional initiatives and will look at other initiatives like Bimstec

Pak. cannot control terrorism on its soil: Shivshankar Menon

  1. Source: Former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon
  2. Views: Pakistan can no longer control terrorism on its soil as terrorism is hard-wired into Pakistan’s society and polity
  3. He said that the likelihood of tactical nuclear weapons being used against India has increased
  4. Reason: There are younger officers in an Army that is increasingly religiously motivated and less and less professional
  5. The Pak army has consistently produced rogue officers and staged coups against its own leaders
  6. This, in turn, means that there is an increased possibility of an all-out nuclear war when India retaliates against tactical nuclear weapons with massive retaliation of its own

Chinese ship opens new trade route via Gwadar port in Pakistan II

  1. China is building a network of roads and power plants under a project known as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
  2. It is expected to absorb $46 billion in Chinese investment in the coming decades
  3. Gwadar port is located on the Arabian Sea and it occupies a strategic location between South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia
  4. The port is also located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Straits of Hormuz
  5. China is seeking convenient and reliable access to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean
  6. Chinese ships now use the Strait of Malacca, a narrow passage between the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia
  7. The proposed new route would give China access to the Persian Gulf region and West Asia

Chinese ship opens new trade route via Gwadar port in Pakistan I

  1. Event: The first convoy of Chinese trucks carrying goods for sale abroad has arrived in Pakistan amid tight security
  2. How: It used a road linking Gwadar to China’s Xinjiang region
  3. This opens a new international trade route by seeing off a Chinese ship that’s exporting goods to West Asia and Africa from the newly-built Gwadar port
  4. The port is located in insurgency-hit Balochistan province where an overnight blast at a shrine killed nearly 50 people

After India’s strong statement, World Bank appeals for mediation

  1. Context: Reply to a strong statement from India that the WB, a signatory to the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, was favouring Pakistan by going ahead with an arbitration process
  2. The WB “urged” India and Pakistan to agree to mediation on how to proceed in their dispute over two hydropower dam projects in J&K
  3. According to the WB, it has a strictly procedural role under the Indus Waters Treaty
  4. The treaty does not allow it to choose whether India’s procedure should take precedence over Pakistan’s
  5. A WB official admitted that two parallel processes were “unworkable” in the long run, and therefore mediation was required
  6. The dispute is over the Kishenganga (330 MW) and Ratle (850 MW) hydel plants India is constructing on the Kishenganga and Chenab rivers

[op-ed snap] Is New Delhi (ND) reducing itself to a South Asian power? II

  1. Trend of diplomatic efforts: ND’s diplomatic efforts increasingly seem to revolve around Pakistan-backed terrorism
  2. Getting US is not helpful as they unhesitatingly make well-rehearsed statements about terrorism from Pakistan and go back to doing business with Rawalpindi
  3. China’s unwillingness to agree to India’s line on Pakistan-based terror has made Sino-Indian relations thornier than ever
  4. Further damaged Mr. Modi’s global image as a leader focused on governance, trade and growth
  5. Attention has suddenly shifted to self-generated tactical concerns, instead of larger issues such as FDI, global partnerships, institutional reforms, economic diplomacy, etc.
  6. ND has internationalised the Kashmir issue, which it traditionally avoided
  7. ND’s signing of LEMOA is allowing the two militaries to work closely and use each other’s bases for repair and supplies
  8. A clear departure from its traditional policy of not getting into military alliances
  9. India’s interests in the Indian Ocean region should be articulated with more vigour, it should rethink the strategic rationale of its forays into the South China Sea

[op-ed snap] Is New Delhi (ND) reducing itself to a South Asian power? I

  1. Context: ND’s decision to reply to Pakistan by raking up Baluchistan in various global fora demonstrates tactical considerations trump strategic thinking in India
  2. Early objectives of this government: Neighborhood first, selling India’s growth story globally, and getting Sino-Indian relations on track- all these lay in tatters
  3. Reason: Foreign policy without a grand strategic blueprint
  4. Result: Reduced to the little box- South Asia because of our never-ending battle with Pakistan
  5. ND’s new-found outrage about human rights violations in Baluchistan is suggestive of misplaced priorities. It is a sheer waste of India’s limited diplomatic energy, owing to shortage of diplomats in MEA
  6. Increasing Sino-Indian disaffection prompts Beijing to confine India further

[op-ed snap] Civilians on LOC and border caught in cross fire

  1. Context: Ceasefire violations have become a daily occurrence since the terrorist attack on the Army camp in Uri in September and the subsequent “surgical strikes” by the Army.
  2. Since then there have been 60 ceasefire violations.
  3. Indians suffering more: The density of civilian settlement is much higher on the Indian side in comparison to Pakistan’s. As a result, the increased firing across the border creates more pressure on India.
  4. Hundreds have been shifted to shelters and bunkers for safety.
  5. Post 2003 ceasefire agreement: After the two countries agreed to a ceasefire in 2003, the resultant calm had won the confidence of local residents.
  6. Villagers began farming right up to the fence, tourism picked up, and even informal border trade increased.
  7. Present situation: After the surgical strikes, the security forces retain a free hand in responding to infiltrations and instances of firing.
  8. Government response: No senior government functionary has publicly addressed the issue.

ADB declines to fund big dam project in PoK

  1. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has refused to commit funds for Pakistan’s $14 billion dam project on the Indus in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)
  2. Two years ago the World Bank declined to fund the project following Islamabad’s refusal to seek an NoC from India

Arrest of staffer violates Vienna Convention, says Pakistan

  1. Issue: Pakistan on Thursday accused India of violating the international convention for protection of diplomats, under the 1961 Vienna convention
  2. Why: After New Delhi briefly detained a staffer of the Pakistan High Commission
  3. The staffer has been declared a persona non-grata and has been asked to leave India within 48 hours
  4. Context: Heightened tension along the International Border between India and Pakistan

BSF Jawan killed in cross-fire in Jammu

  1. What: Another BSF Head Constable was killed in cross-border firing from Pakistan
  2. Where: In Jammu’s Abdullian district
  3. This is the third death of a BSF personnel along the Pakistan border in Jammu in the past one week
  4. The 192-Km long International Border that runs along Jammu has seen ceasefire violations since October 19
  5. Reason: BSF personnel pushed back four terrorists who were trying to infiltrate from the Hiranagar sector

Pakistan claims OIC backing on Kashmir

  1. Pakistan has said the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) has backed its stance over Kashmir by adopting a resolution upholding Kashmiris’ right to self-determination
  2. The grouping reaffirmed its unwavering support to the just cause of Kashmiri people

No ‘blanket ban’ on Pak artists in India

  1. Source: Ministry of External Affairs
  2. The MEA declared that there is no blanket ban on Pakistani artists and they remain free to perform in the Indian entertainment industry
  3. Context: Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have been campaigning to stop release of films featuring Pakistani artists due to India-Pakistan tensions
  4. Context: A ban on Indian TV and radio channels in Pakistan was declared by the Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA)

Cross-LoC strikes not new: Jaishankar

  1. Foreign Secretary Jaishankar: Army had carried out “target-specific, limited-calibre, counter-terrorist operations” across the LoC in the past too
  2. He also said that this is the first time the government has gone public about such strikes
  3. The Foreign Secretary gave these remarks to the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs
  4. Fallout: These remarks contradict Defense Minister Parrikar’s claims that these were the first surgical strikes

Things changing after Modi highlighted Baloch plight

  1. What? Things are changing rapidly at the international level since Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the plight of the people of troubled Balochistan province in Pakistan
  2. Other countries are coming forward to support the Balochistan issue
  3. The Baloch cause for freedom has received a major diplomatic push
  4. Who said it? Baloch nationalist leader Naela Quadri Baloch

Indo-Pak border to be sealed by 2018: Rajnath

  1. India will completely seal the border with Pakistan by December 2018 by using all effective means including technological solutions
  2. A proper monitoring mechanism would be in place at the central and state government levels for it
  3. Govt also mooted setting up a border security grid for which suggestions have been invited from all the concerned stakeholders including the States which share border with Pakistan

Security Council not discussing India-Pak issue

  1. UNSC Prez: The United Nations Security Council is not discussing the issues between India and Pakistan and has no plans to do so
  2. Pakistan: Has been trying to ensure U.N. involvement in the situation
  3. Nawaz Sharif had raised the issue of human rights violations by India in Jammu and Kashmir in the General Assembly, but no other country has mentioned it

Costs of Non-Cooperation- what does it mean?

  1. It occurs when a country imports from the global market at prices higher than the price at which the same product is available from the regional market
  2. And thereby it incurs an additional foreign exchange expenditure on such imports

Pak. loses $7 bn. by avoiding India goods

  1. Source: ‘Costs of Non-Cooperation’ study by Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS)
  2. Findings: Pakistan suffered a loss of about $7 billion in 2014 by importing items from other countries at a higher cost instead of sourcing them from India
  3. The loss is substantial considering Pakistan’s GDP (nominal, 2015) is only about $270 billion
  4. Many products that Pakistan imported from third countries were at least three times more costly than the price of the same item from India in export markets
  5. Lessons for Pak: The objective of the study is to show Pakistan that they can save on the foreign exchange front if they cooperate in South Asia
  6. Pak’s trade scenario: It is a net-importing nation with a trade deficit of $22 billion in 2015
  7. In 2015, it imported around $44 billion, while it exported only items worth $22 billion

Have Pakistan and India accorded MFN status to each other?

  1. The MFN status was accorded to Pakistan in 1996 as per India’s commitments as a WTO member
  2. But Pakistan has not reciprocated
  3. Why? It has cited non-tariff barriers erected by India as well as huge trade imbalance
  4. WTO’s report on the Trade Policy Review of Pakistan (in 2015): Pakistan is in the process of offering India Non-Discriminatory Market Access (similar to MFN)

Pakistan’s contribution to trade

  1. According to Assocham, out of India’s total merchandise trade of USD 641 billion in 2015-16, Pakistan accounted for a meagre USD 2.67 billion
  2. India’s exports to Pakistan worked out to USD 2.17 billion, or 0.83%, of the total Indian outward shipments while imports are 0.13%, of the total inward shipments

India to review MFN status to Pakistan

  1. What? India will review the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status given to Pakistan at a meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
  2. Context: The decision comes in the wake of the Uri attack
  3. Background: The MFN status was accorded in 1996 under the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
  4. Both India and Pakistan are signatories to the agreement, according to which they have to treat each other and rest of WTO member countries as favoured trading partners
  5. Indus treaty: PM Modi chaired a review meeting of the Indus Water Treaty, during which it was decided that India will exploit to the maximum the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water sharing pact

Pakistan and terrorism in SAARC context

  1. Pakistan is isolated within SAARC, as three members of the regional group have accused it of sponsoring terrorism
  2. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India have accused Islamabad of sponsoring terrorism that ISI continues to generate, irrespective of the condition of the bilateral ties with India
  3. Such attacks take place irrespective of the ties being temporarily good or continuously bad
  4. A response therefore has to be forcefully enunciated to Pakistan

India driven to the wall, must mount response: diplomats

  1. Context: The attack in Uri, close to the Line of Control (LoC), in which 17 Indian soldiers were killed
  2. India has a wide range of options for a measured and effective response to the attack in Uri, according to veteran diplomats and experts
  3. India can consider a mix of diplomatic and multilateral response
  4. A major challenge in crafting a suitable response to Pakistan was its ability to use its nuclear umbrella as a shield for unconventional warfare with India
  5. However, India could engage the Pakistan military in response for Uri without triggering a war

India raises Balochistan at UN; hits out at Pakistan

  1. News: Raising the issue of Balochistan for the first time before the U.N., India accused Pakistan of widespread human rights violations there as well as in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)
  2. The main reason for disturbances in Kashmir is the cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan
  3. It stems from its territorial ambitions over the place that has found concrete expression in repeated armed aggressions
  4. Pak’s dismal record: Many countries have repeatedly called upon Pakistan to end cross- border infiltration; dismantle the terrorism infrastructure; and stop acting as an epicentre of terrorism
  5. India’s credentials: A peaceful, democratic, pluralistic society that is deeply committed to the welfare of its people are well established
  6. The high number of causalities sustained by Indian security forces is a reflection of the tremendous restraint they have displayed in difficult circumstances
  7. J&K is an integral part of India and will always remain so & we reject attempts by Pakistan to denigrate the democratic choice that has been regularly exercised by the people of J&K

Pakistan govt under fire for hiding details of Pathankot probe

  1. Pakistan Govt has come under fire from the opposition which accused it of hiding the details of the probe into Pakistani nationals’ involvement in the Pathankot terror attack
  2. It has prompted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to announce that the findings would be made public
  3. The opposition went to the extent of alleging that the government was patronising militants
  4. Pak Govt: The National Action Plan is being implemented and the terrorist incidents, on average, have come down due to that

India willing to talk to Pakistan on terror, not Kashmir

  1. News: Lobbing the ball for dialogue back into Pakistan’s court, India said that it is willing to discuss cross-border terror in Kashmir, but not to discuss Kashmir itself, as Pakistan had proposed
  2. Reason: Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in J&K, India has proposed that discussions be focussed on them
  3. Also, despite a great effort to reach out to Pakistan, India has faced several terror attacks which have made the relationship difficult to grow

Pakistan for mutual ban on nuclear tests

  1. Pakistan: Hopeful of a bilateral agreement with India over a mutual ban on non-testing of atomic weapons that will ease the entry of the two countries into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
  2. An offer regarding non-testing of nuclear weapons agreement has already been made but the proposal did not elicit a favourable response from India
  3. Had proposed to India a simultaneous adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty following the 1998 nuclear tests by both countries

Pakistan invites India for talks on Kashmir dispute

  1. Pak: It is the international obligation of both the countries to resolve the issue, notwithstanding India’s insistence that it would talk on contemporary and relevant issues in Indo-Pak relations
  2. Context: The invitation was extended amid tension in bilateral ties due to the war of words between the two nations over the Kashmir issue
  3. Background: Union Home Minister addressed Parliament on the Kashmir issue and said that India was willing to discuss only Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) with Pakistan, and that the question of discussing Jammu and Kashmir with Islamabad just did not arise
  4. India also virtually turned down Pakistan’s proposal that it would invite India for a dialogue on J&K and made it clear that it would talk on contemporary and relevant issues in Indo-Pak relations

Earlier PCA issue regarding Kishanganga


  1. The almost complete 330MW hydro power project on the Kishanganga River, a tributary of the Jhelum, has been in the centre of India-Pakistan water dispute recently
  2. The waters for the dam on the Kishanganga River (also called Neelum in Pakistan-administered Kashmir) would be diverted through a tunnel for power production
  3. The rest of the water flow is supposed to join the Wullar Lake and will ultimately run through Jhelum to Muzaffarabad (in Pakistan-administered Kashmir) – dodging the 213km long Neelum
  4. Pakistan is also building its own Neelum-Jhelum Hydro-Electric Project (NJHEP) on the Neelum river
  5. 2013 judgment: The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) had decided that India should release a minimum flow of 9 cumecs (cubic meters per second) into the river below the project at all times

Pakistan to take river dispute back to international court

  1. News: Pakistan has decided to return to an international tribunal – Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), The Hague – to settle a dispute with India
  2. The dispute is over sharing waters of the Kishenganga and Ratle river projects
  3. India’s stand: Pakistan is violating provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), 1960, in rushing to a third forum – the PCA – without attempting to avail Treaty provisions in resolving the above matters
  4. Background: Pakistan’s previous attempt at the PCA had backfired as the PCA had given a verdict defending India’s right to divert water of Kishenganga
  5. The PCA had also quashed Pakistan’s argument that India’s hydro electricity power plans on the Kishenganga reduced flow of water for Neelum Jhelum Hydro Electricity Project (NJHEP)
  6. Pakistan’s stand: Unlike the previous arbitration at the PCA, Pakistan will take up the issue of “design” of the Kishenganga and Ratle river projects in Kashmir

J&K violence a matter of grave concern: US

  1. News: The US has been in touch with both India and Pakistan on the volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir this week, a State Department spokesperson said
  2. The death of protestors in the State was a matter of ‘grave concern’ for US
  3. US is also clear with the Government of Pakistan that they must target and root out all extremist and militant groups

US calls for dialogue on the Kashmir issue

  1. News: The US has called for dialogue between India, Pakistan and Kashmir on the conflict in the valley
  2. India hit back at Pakistan at a UN conference on human rights, after the latter raised the situation in Jammu and Kashmir
  3. Terming Pakistan’s attempt a ‘misuse’ of the forum, India reminded the world body that Pakistan has been shielding designated terrorists on its territory

What is UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)?

  1. UNMOGIP monitors the situation in Kashmir however India does not recognise the UNMOGIP’s mandate
  2. It began operations in 1949 & has personnel from 10 countries comprising 44 military members and 72 civilian staff
  3. India maintains that the UNMOGIP has been made irrelevant by the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
  4. The Shimla Agreement recognises the Kashmir dispute as a bilateral issue
  5. In 2014, India asked the UNMOGIP to leave the government building it had provided the mission
  6. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on the other hand, has called for an expansion of the UNMOGIP
  7. And Pakistan continues to file complaints with it about alleged Indian ceasefire violations

Swedish general appointed to head UN India Pakistan military observers

  1. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Swedish Major General Per Lodin to head the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)
  2. He is to succeed Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who is completing his two-year assignment in July
  3. Lodin is currently the head of Strategic Material Management at Forsvarets materielverk (FMV), the Swedish defence ministry’s procurement and logistics arm
  4. He had earlier served as the head of the task force centre of Kosovo Force (KFOR), the multi-national peacekeeping mission led by NATO in 2006-2007

Pak needlessly internationalising Kashmir: India

  1. India: Kashmir issue is not the main cause of tension but externally sponsored terrorism is the central issue
  2. Pak needs to end its illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir and stop interfering in India’s internal matters
  3. India completely rejected the insinuations by the vested interests against India which has rightful sovereignty over the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir

The financing issue of US-Pak deal

  1. US Subsidy: Initially, the $700 million deal for eight F-16 multi-role fighters, was to be partially financed through the U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme
  2. However, the Congress disallowed subsidising the sale
  3. Why? Concern that Pakistan had not done enough to end the dreaded Haqqani network’s terror sanctuaries on its soil as well as fears over its nuclear programme
  4. Pakistan was subsequently asked by the U.S. administration to make the full payment for the eight aircraft from its national resources
  5. However, Pakistani authorities were adamant that the offer must come without any preconditions

India to expedite visa process for Pakistani citizens

  1. Context: India has decided to make visa process faster than earlier
  2. Reason: Many complaints received from Pakistani visitors that entire process of visa is too lengthy and cumbersome
  3. Huge demand of visas from Pakistani visitors and verification takes months to clear them
  4. The pending applications will be processed quickly but it will not be relaxing the norms for Pakistani visitors

India, Pakistan fail to break deadlock on talks

  1. Context: India-Pak bilateral talks on sidelines of the Heart of Asia summit
  2. Output: Both sides failed to make headway on the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, trading allegations
  3. India: Pakistan cannot deny the impact of terrorism on bilateral relationship
  4. Terrorist groups based in Pakistan targeting India must not be allowed to operate with impunity
  5. Pakistan: Indian intelligence agencies are responsible for the unrest in Balochistan

India for better ties with Pakistan

  1. Context: Home Minister Rajanth Singh replying to a question pertaining to a video
  2. Video: People in large numbers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are seen protesting against the Pakistani establishment and demanding freedom
  3. What he said? India & Pak, both are sovereign countries & India has been consistently trying to improve its ties with Pakistan
  4. However, if anyone raised questions over India’s sovereignty and self-respect, it would not be tolerated

Info from Pakistan helped NIA identify Pathankot attackers

  1. Context: Information received from anonymous individuals in Pakistan was crucial in identifying four Pakistan terrorists who stormed Pathankot airbase
  2. How? Photos of the slain Pathankot terrorists were put up on the NIA website
  3. The NIA had published the photographs of the deceased terrorists on its website last month, inviting information from public
  4. NIA received a number of anonymous messages from countries, including Pakistan
  5. It helped them get additional information about the identity of the four terrorists killed at the Pathankot

JIT visit took place in cooperative spirit: Pakistan

  1. Context: Pakistani media reports which claimed that the JIT had drawn a blank in India
  2. News: Pak foreign ministry statement that The visit of the JIT to India took place in the context of the cooperative approach being pursued by the Pakistan government as part of its commitment to effectively fight terrorism in all its forms
  3. Doublespeak: statement that the JIT was denied access to security officers who were eyewitnesses to the Pathankot airbase attack
  4. Importance: ininvestigation is now being seen as a key indicator of whether a more restrained and cooperative approach to handling terror will yield results not seen before

Pakistan’s probe team will get access to Pathankot airbase

  1. News: National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be coordinating the visit of the Pakistan team
  2. Context: Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team(JIT) was expected to visit the Pathankot airbase on March 29 and would be flown there in a helicopter belonging to BSF
  3. JIT includes: Pak Intelligence Bureau, military intelligence and the ISI
  4. Support: Govt has decided to be transparent about the Pakistan’s team visit here and have asked the NIA to share as many details as possible with the media

U.S. considers re-merger of India, Pakistan desks

De-hyphenating policy started by the U.S. under President Bush, but sealed by the Obama administration, of dealing with India and Pakistan, without referring to their bilateral relations.

  1. 7 years after the State Department was restructured to ‘de-hyphenate’ U.S. relations with India and with Pakistan, it is considering a reversal of the move.
  2. It enabled the U.S. to build closer military and strategic ties with India without factoring in the reaction from Pakistan.
  3. To continue its own strategy in Afghanistan with the help of the Pakistan military without referring back to India.
  4. A proposal to re-merge the office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) back with the Bureau of South and Central Asia (SCA) that handles India.
  5. U.S. involvement as a “third party” in talks with Pakistan, which would become the case if special representatives would travel between Delhi and Islamabad regularly.

Stay the course, U.S urges India, Pakistan

Sources indicated that U.S officials have been in touch with India and Pakistan over the weekend, but did not elaborate.

  1. U.S urged on improving bilateral relation in the wake of the latest terror strikes on two Indian targets.
  2. The Pathankot air force base and the Indian consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan.
  3. Strongly encouraged the governments of both India and Pakistan to remain steadfast in their commitment to a more secure and prosperous future for both their countries and for the region.
  4. The U.S is relieved that responses from both India and Pakistan after the terror strikes do not signal any immediate risk of relapse into hostilities in South Asia.

PM goes to Lahore, makes a Christmas date with history

With two unannounced stops, in Kabul and Lahore on Christmas day, Prime Minister Modi rewrote the recent history of geopolitics in the region.

  1. PM Sharif welcomed PM Modi and said it is important that the two countries seize the moment and build a prosperous future.
  2. Mr. Modi’s visit to Lahore drew comparisons with Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit in 1999.
  3. The meeting is a good example of summit diplomacy and both Prime Ministers should from now on steer the diplomatic talks.
  4. India’s presence in Afghanistan has always been viewed with suspicion, and the absence of any negative comments in Pakistan was significant.

India, Pakistan have shown great maturity to re-engage: J&K CM

Lauding the resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue, Jammu and Kashmir CM has called for a long-term strategic partnership between the two neighbouring countries.

  1. It has generated hope and expectation among the people of J&K, who have for long yearned for peace and stability in the region.
  2. People of Jammu and Kashmir are direct beneficiaries of friendly and peaceful relations between the two neighbours.
  3. Our responsibility is to sustain the trust and confidence that people continue to repose in us, he said.
  4. It was important to obtain feedback to make a reality check vis-a-vis performance of the government.

7 years after 26/11, India and Pakistan resume dialogue

The talks will be called Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue; Pakistan assures early completion of the Mumbai terror attacks trial.

  1. The structured dialogue process significant as the resumption of dialogue comes at the time of the 30th anniversary of the SAARC.
  2. The India-Pakistan Composite Dialogue is rooted in the 1997 SAARC Summit at Male where PM I.K. Gujral and Mr. Sharif agreed to create a Composite Dialogue Process (CDP).
  3. The CDP survived till 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai led to its suspension.
  4. Now, 10-point Comprehensive Dialogue Process replaces Composite Dialogue Process of eight issues.

10-Point Comprehensive Dialogue Process includes –

  • Peace and Security, confidence building measures
  • J&K, Siachen, Sir Creek
  • Wullar barrage/ Tulbul project
  • Economic and commercial cooperation
  • Counter-terrorism, narcotics control
  • Humanitarian issues
  • People-to-people exchanges
  • Religious tourism

Deadlock in India-Pakistan ties partly ends: Aziz

  1. Sushma Swaraj will visit Pakistan for a conference on Afghanistan.
  2. The discussions can range from enhancing trade ties and liberalising the visa regime.
  3. The Heart of Asia conference was an opportunity to take the situation forward, in this environment of hostility.
  4. In 2016, there would be more opportunities for high-level engagements, as India will host the Heart of Asia conference , and Pakistan will host the SAARC summit.

India, Pakistan NSAs meet in Bangkok

The two Prime Ministers had a brief but close chat on November 30 in Paris where they had gone to attend the climate summit.

  1. The MEA said the discussions covered, “peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues, including tranquillity along the LoC.”
  2. Some of the details of the Bangkok dialogue were ironed out between the existing channels of communication between the NSA and Pakistan High Commissioner to India.
  3. The newfound bonhomie between Delhi and Islamabad has also raised hopes from the cricket authorities over the possibility of a series to be played between India and Pakistan.

India against infrastructure projects in PoK: MEA

  1. With the US expressing support to Pakistan’s efforts to arrange funds for the Diamer Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan, India raises a RED FLAG!
  2. The 4,500-mega watt dam project has been unable to make any headway for want of funds.
  3. India also expressed its reservation on US’ supply of F-16 Fighter Jets.

Mainstreaming a nuclear Pakistan

It is in India’s interest to ensure that Pakistan’s nukes are under international supervision

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) poses with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during their meeting in New York on September 27, 2015.


Simply put, what is Nuclear Deal ?

A nuclear deal is primarily about undertaking responsibilities and the constant demonstration of good behaviour in exchange for an ability to engage in nuclear commerce and energy production.

What should New Delhi’s response be to a potential nuclear deal between US and Pakistan ?

  • The NSG has been organising outreach meetings with Pakistan regarding nuclear exports for sometime now.
  • Pakistan has reached out to the international community to help end its status as a nuclear outcast and to be treated on par with India.
  • At the Hague Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014, PM Nawaz Sharif called for “Pakistan’s inclusion in all international export control regimes, especially the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
  • Pakistan also holds the key to the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) at the Conference on Disarmament.

With Strong Chinese support to Pak

  • China, whose consent is necessary for admitting new members to the NSG, has consistently supported Pakistan’s entry into the NSG.
  • The Chinese willingness today to consider membership for both India and Pakistan will influence the thinking in Washington and key Western capitals.

Critics of the U.S.-Pakistan Nuke deal

  • Firstly, Pakistan has a terrible track record of nuclear proliferation and that a nuclear deal would be seen as rewarding such irresponsible behaviour.
  • Two, it would enable Pakistan to enhance its nuclear arsenal which, is directed against India, making the latter more insecure.
  • Third, U.S.-Pakistan nuclear deal will hyphenate India and Pakistan once again in the international discourse, something New Delhi viscerally detests.

Four sets of reasons why a ‘conditional nuclear deal’, in India’s national interest.

  • First of all, Pakistan’s admission to the global nuclear order is good news for the international non-proliferation regime.
  • Second, It is better for the international community to be in the know of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
  • More importantly, It will bring the Sino-Pak. nuclear relations under international scrutiny.
  • Third, if India’s experience of inking the nuclear deal with the U.S. and other states, signing the India-specific Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, the road to nuclear normalcy is not going to be a smooth one for Islamabad.

Pakistan should meet conditions

  • For one, Separation of its civilian and military facilities, leading to a less feverish production of fissile material by Pakistan, thereby producing fewer nuclear warheads.
  • Second, some restrictions on its weapons programme, materially and doctrinally.
  • Third, Pakistan will have to give up its opposition to FMCT negotiations as a precondition for the deal.

What about India’s National Security Interest ?

A U.S.-Pakistan civilian nuclear deal will make absolutely no difference to India’s national security interests.

We must, ask the U.S. and other stakeholders to press Islamabad to stop stalling the FMCT negotiations, and agree to a nuclear ‘No-first-use’ agreement with India, which is already part of the Indian doctrine.

India should insist that Pakistan, as part of the deal, should be asked to negotiate nuclear confidence building measures (CBMs) with India without linking them to conventional arms control.



:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







Highest Rated App. Over 3 lakh users. Click to Download!!!