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[Prelims Spotlight] Important Groupings Related to India

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Important Groupings Related to India


05 May 2020

Trans-Pacific Partnership

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States (until 23 January 2017) and Vietnam
  • The TPP began as an expansion of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) signed by Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore in 2005
  • The TPP contains measures to lower both non-tariff and tariff barriers to trade and establish an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism
  • The agreement will enter into force after ratification by all signatories if this occurs within two years
  • APEC members may accede to the TPP, as may any other jurisdiction to which existing TPP members agree. After an application for membership is received, a commission of parties to the treaty negotiates conditions for accession.

BRICS

  • BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC” (or “the BRICs”), before the induction of South Africa in 2010.
  • The BRICS members are known for their significant influence on regional affairs; all are members of G20.
  • Since 2009, the BRICS nations have met annually at formal summits. China hosted the 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen on September 2017, while Brazil hosted the most recent 11th BRICS summit on 13-14 November 2019.

New Development Bank and the Fortaleza Declaration

  • During the sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014), the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB).
  • In the Fortaleza Declaration, the leaders stressed that the NDB will strengthen cooperation among BRICS and will supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development, thus contributing to collective commitments for achieving the goal of strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
  • The bank was established in July 2015 by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
  • The aim of the bank is to mobilize funding for infrastructure and sustainable development.
  • Its ownership structure is unique, as the BRICS countries each have an equal share and no country has any veto power.
  • In this sense, the bank is a physical expression of the desire of emerging markets to play a bigger role in global governance.
  • NDB was created to help fill the funding gap in the BRICS economies and was intended to grow its global scope over time.
  • The bank, with its subscribed capital base of US$50bn, is now poised to become a meaningful additional source of long-term finance for infrastructure in its member countries.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a trade deal that was being negotiated between 16 countries.
  • They include the 10 ASEAN members and the six countries with which the bloc has free trade agreements (FTAs) — India, Australia, China, Korea, Japan, and New Zealand.
  • The purpose of the deal is to create an “integrated market” spanning all 16 countries.
  • This means that it would be easier for the products and services of each of these countries to be available across the entire region.

RCEP – India

  • It comprises half of the world population and accounts for nearly 40% of the global commerce and 35% of the GDP. RCEP would have become the world’s largest FTA after finalisation, with India being the third-biggest economy in it.
  • Without India, the RCEP does not look as attractive as it had seemed during negotiations.
  • Divided ASEAN – ASEAN has been keen on a diversified portfolio so that member states can deal with major powers and maintain their strategic autonomy. ASEAN member states have tried to keep the U.S. engaged in the region.
  • Act East policy has been well received. With China’s rise in the region, ASEAN member states have been keen on Indian involvement in the region.
  • Indo-Pacific – India’s entire Indo-Pacific strategy might be open to question if steps are not taken to restore India’s profile in the region.
  • Rejected China’s dominance – India signalled that, despite the costs, China’s rise has to be tackled both politically and economically.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the then security and economic architecture in the Eurasian region dissolved and new structures had to come up.
  • The original Shanghai Five were China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
  • The SCO was formed in 2001, with Uzbekistan included. It expanded in 2017 to include India and Pakistan.
  • Since its formation, the SCO has focused on regional non-traditional security, with counter-terrorism as a priority:
  • The fight against the “three evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism has become its mantra.
  • Today, areas of cooperation include themes such as economics and culture.

India’s entry to the SCO

  • India and Pakistan both were observer countries.
  • While Central Asian countries and China were not in favour of expansion initially, the main supporter — of India’s entry in particular — was Russia.
  • A widely held view is that Russia’s growing unease about an increasingly powerful China prompted it to push for its expansion.
  • From 2009 onwards, Russia officially supported India’s ambition to join the SCO. China then asked for its all-weather friend Pakistan’s entry.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. This sub-regional organization came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • The regional group constitutes a bridge between South and South-East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries.
  • BIMSTEC has also established a platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.  The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of the global population with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.7 trillion economies. In the last five years, BIMSTEC Member States have been able to sustain an average 6.5% economic growth trajectory despite a global financial meltdown.

SAARC & SAARC Countries

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia.  Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  SAARC was founded in Dhaka in 1985.
  • Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu.
  • The organization promotes the development of economic and regional integration.
  • It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006.
  • SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nation as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities.
  • Observers Of SAARC: – States with observer status include Australia, China, the European Union, Iran, Japan, Mauritius Myanmar, South Korea and the United States.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten Southeast Asian countries
  • It promotes Pan-Asianism and intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational and socio-cultural integration amongst its members and other Asian countries
  • It members are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam
  • ASEAN shares land and maritime borders with India, China
  • ASEAN is an official United Nations Observer.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

  • The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
  • One of the critical elements for inclusion into the NSG is that the member countries need to signatories of the NPT, a proposal which India has categorically disagreed.
  • However considering India’s history of nuclear non-proliferation, the US and subsequently the NSG have shown some recognition and granted India with the waiver of dealing with other countries for nuclear technology.

Recent Developments

  • Present Indian government embarked to pursue the ambitious goal of NSG membership aggressively.
  • The prime minister visited countries like the USA, Netherlands, Mexico, and Portugal to secure support from these countries.
  • US administration under Obama and Donald trump reiterated their support for Indian entry to the NSG. Russia also extended its support.
  • NSG takes a decision based on a consensus of the member countries. So it is important to secure the support of each and every member country.
  • China is against the granting membership. Insisted on a criteria-based approach for the non-NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) signatory countries.
  • China has also maintained that for non-NPT members some definite criteria should be evolved rather than granting country-specific waivers. At other times, it has stated that Pakistan also has similar credentials to join the NSG; and that if India is admitted; Pakistan should also be admitted simultaneously.
  • Some other countries, including Turkey, Switzerland, Mexico and New Zealand, were among those which have stressed on the criteria-based approach, without opposing India’s application outright.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

  • OPCW is an intergovernmental organization and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997
  • The OPCW, with its 193 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons
  • The organization promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction
  • Verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by member states and onsite inspections
  • The OPCW has the power to say whether chemical weapons were used in an attack it has investigated
  • The organization was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”

The Australian Group

  • The Australia Group is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) and an informal group of countries (now joined by the European Commission) established in 1985 (after the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in 1984) to help member countries to identify those exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons
  • The group, initially consisting of 15 members, held its first meeting in Brussels, Belgium, in September 1989. With the incorporation of India on January 19, 2018, it now has 43 members, including Australia, the European Commission, all 28 member states of the European Union, Ukraine, and Argentina
  • The name comes from Australia’s initiative to create the group. Australia manages the secretariat
  • The initial members of the group had different assessments of which chemical precursors should be subject to export control
  • Later adherents initially had no such controls
  • Today, members of the group maintain export controls on a uniform list of 54 compounds, including several that are not prohibited for export under the Chemical Weapons Convention but can be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons
  • In 2002, the group took two important steps to strengthen export control
  • The first was the “no-undercut” requirement, which stated that any member of the group considering making an export to another state that had already been denied an export by any other member of the group must first consult with that member state before approving the export
  • The second was the “catch-all” provision, which requires member states to halt all exports that could be used by importers in chemical or biological weapons programs, regardless of whether the export is on the group’s control lists.
  • Delegations representing the members meet every year in Paris, France
WTO
  • US, UK and a few other countries set up, an interim organisation about trade named GATT (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade) in 1947
  • GATT was biased in favour of the developed countries and was called informally as the Rich men’s club.
  • So, the developing countries insisted on setting up the International Trade Organisation (ITO)
  • That’s the reason, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was set up in 1964 as an alternative, on the recommendation of the UN committee
  • Next development comes in Uruguay Round of GATT, it sought to expand the scope of the organisation by including, services, investment and intellectual property rights (IPR)
  • Agreements were ratified by the legislatures of 85 member-countries by year-end 1994.
  • On such rectification, the WTO started functioning from Jan 1, 1995, Marrakesh Agreement>

Functions of WTO

  • The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries.
  • It provides a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments.

G20

  • Formed in 1999, the G20 is an international forum of the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.
  • Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 85 percent of the Gross World Product (GWP), 80 percent of world trade.
  • To tackle the problems or the address issues that plague the world, the heads of governments of the G20 nations periodically participate in summits.
  • In addition to it, the group also hosts separate meetings of the finance ministers and foreign ministers.
  • The G20 has no permanent staff of its own and its chairmanship rotates annually between nations divided into regional groupings. 

Aims and objectives

  • The Group was formed with the aim of studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.
  • The forum aims to pre-empt the balance of payments problems and turmoil on financial markets by improved coordination of monetary, fiscal, and financial policies.
  • It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organisation.

Member Countries

The members of the G20 consist of 19 individual countries plus the European Union (EU).

  • The 19 member countries of the forum are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.
  • The European Union is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank.

 Who are the G20 Sherpas?

  • A Sherpa is the personal representative of a head of state or government who prepares an international summit, particularly the annual G7 and G20 summits.
  • Between the summits, there are multiple Sherpa conferences where possible agreements are laid out.
  • This reduces the amount of time and resources required at the negotiations of the heads of state at the final summit.
  • The Sherpa is generally quite influential, although they do not have the authority to make a final decision about any given agreement.
  • The name is derived from the Sherpa people, a Nepalese ethnic group, who serve as guides and porters in the Himalayas, a reference to the fact that the Sherpa clears the way for a head of state at a major summit.

G7

  • The G7 or the Group of Seven is a group of the seven most advanced economies as per the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • The seven countries are Canada, USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Italy. The EU is also represented in the G7.
  • These countries, with the seven largest IMF-described advanced economies in the world, represent 58% of the global net wealth ($317 trillion).
  • The G7 countries also represent more than 46% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) based on nominal values, and more than 32% of the global GDP based on purchasing power parity.
  • The requirements to be a member of the G7 are a high net national wealth and a high HDI (Human Development Index).

 

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