Prelims Spotlight is a part of “Nikaalo Prelims 2020” module. This open crash course for Prelims 2020 has a private telegram group where PDFs and DDS (Daily Doubt Sessions) are being held. Please click here to register.
Important IR Pacts in News
23 April 2020
Joint Press Statement 14th Meeting of India-France Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism
- India and France held the 14th Meeting of Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism in New Delhi on February 28, 2020
- Both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stressed the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism in a comprehensive and sustained manner.
- They exchanged views on current counter-terrorism challenges including countering radicalization, combating the financing of terrorism, preventing the use of the internet for terrorist purposes, threats posed by internationally designated terrorist entities as well as cross-border terrorism in South Asian region.
- Both sides stressed upon the need to deny safe havens and sources of financing to terrorists.
- It was decided that the next meeting of the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism shall be held in France in 2021 on a mutually convenient date.
- The US and Taliban signed an agreement for “Bringing Peace to Afghanistan”, which will enable the US and NATO to withdraw troops in the next 14 months.
The pact is between the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban” and the US.
- The four-page pact was signed between Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political head of the Taliban.
Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership
- Prime Minister Modi and President Trump pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation, especially through greater maritime and space domain awareness and information sharing; joint cooperation; exchange of military liaison personnel; advanced training and expanded exercises between all services and special forces; closer collaboration on co-development and co-production of advanced defence components, equipment and platforms; and partnership between their defence industries.
- Prime Minister Modi and President Trump resolved to enhance the security of their homelands through cooperation and to jointly fight international crimes like human trafficking, terrorism and violent extremism, drug-trafficking and crimes in cyberspace.
List of MoUs/Agreements exchanged and announced during State Visit of President of Portugal
- Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation for Setting Up a National Maritime Museum
- Heritage Complex in Lothal (Gujarat) between Portuguese Ministry of Defence and the Indian Ministry of Shipping.
- MOU between Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) and DPIIT, Ministry of Commerce or co-operation in the field of industrial and intellectual property rights Co-operation Agreement on Maritime Transport and Port Development between India and Portugal.
- MoU between the Portuguese Diplomatic Institute and Foreign Service Institute for training
Israel-Palestine Peace Plan
- The Israel-Palestine peace plan or the West Asia peace plan is the proposal unveiled by U.S. President Donald Trump
- This plan seeks to address most of the contentious issues in the conflict.
- The solutions, Mr. Trump has proposed to almost all of these issues, favour the Israeli positions.
- He seeks to give to the Israelis, Jerusalem and part of the West Bank.
- With his plan, he is actually pushing to revive the stalled two-state talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but on his own terms.
What is the plan?
- The Palestinian refugees, who were forced out from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that followed the declaration of the state of Israel in historic Palestine, would not be allowed to return.
- Jerusalem would be the undivided capital of Israel, with Palestine gaining its capital in the east of the city.
- In return, Israel would freeze further settlement activities on the West Bank for 4 years (the time for negotiations).
- During this period, the Palestinian Authority should dismiss its current complaints at the International Criminal Court against Israel and refrain itself from taking further actions.
- It should crack down on certain terrorist groups like the Hamas
US-Guatemala Asylum Deal
- In July 2019, the then President of Guatemala signed an asylum deal with the US.
- Under the “safe third country” agreement, migrants have to apply for asylum in the first country they land in.
- If they fail to do so and proceed to the second country, they can be sent back to the first country.
- The US first signed such an agreement with Canada in 2002.
What is the US-Guatemala agreement
- In 2019, the US administration signed “safe third country” agreements with the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
- This made it more difficult for refugees to seek asylum in the US.
- This agreement allowed the US to send asylum seekers from third countries to Guatemala.
- So far, Guatemala is the only country which has implemented the agreement.
- Unless migrants apply for protection in Guatemala before proceeding to the US, they are sent back to Guatemala
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the first foreign leader to visit India after Jammu and Kashmir was officially bifurcated into two Union Territories on October 31
- Germany and India signed 17 agreements and five joint declarations of intent in fields spanning space, civil aviation, maritime technology, medicine, yoga and education.
PM Modi’s Saudi Visit – Future Investment Initiative Forum
- The forum is formally called the Future Investment Initiative and was launched in 2017.
- The Indian PM will be joining Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, U.S. President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
- Other leading international figures also join at the annual international forum popularly known as “Davos in the Desert”.
- It seeks to elevate Saudi Arabia’s international economic engagement.
- It is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS’s) efforts to rapidly transform Saudi the economy under the “Vision 2030” that he unveiled in 2016.
Mamallapuram Summit – India and China
- PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping recently held an informal summit in the ancient coastal town of Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.
- The two countries convened their first Informal Summit in central China’s Wuhan in April 2018, where they exchanged views on issues of global and bilateral significance.
- Irrespective of the rhetoric of a Wuhan spirit, the relationship is facing difficulties, reflected in a number of disputes between the two countries.
- Informal Summits act as supplementary exchanges to annual Summits and other formal exchanges such as the G20 Summit, EU-India Summit and the BRICS Summit among others.
- It allows for direct, free and candid exchange of views between countries, something that may not be possible to do through formal bilateral and multilateral meetings that are agenda-driven.
- Informal Summits may not take place on a fixed annual or biennial schedule; they are impromptu in the sense that they take place when a need for them is perceived by the concerned nations.
- Wuhan Spirit is in line with the five principles of peaceful coexistence (Panchsheel) jointly advocated by China and India in the 1950s.
- Wuhan Spirit highlighted To form the “backbone” of economic globalization, and they should jointly make positive contributions to global peace and development.
- To cooperate, for the first time ever, on a joint project in Afghanistan.
China has indicated that India’s refusal to join the Belt and Road Initiative will not come in the way of economic cooperation.
Extradition Treaty between India and Belgium
- Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the signing and ratifying of the Extradition Treaty between the Republic of India and the Kingdom of Belgium.
- This will replace the pre-Independence Extradition Treaty between Great Britain and Belgium of 1901 that was made applicable to India through the exchange of Letters in 1958.
- The Treaty provides a legal framework for seeking the extradition of terrorists, economic offenders, and other criminals from and to Belgium.
Multilateral Export Control Regimes
- MECR is voluntary and non-binding agreements created by the major supplier countries that have agreed to co-operate in their effort to prevent and regulate the transfer of certain military and dual-use technology.
- It aims at preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
- They are independent of the United Nations.
- Their regulations apply only to members and it is not obligatory for a country to join.
- India is now a member of three of the four MECRs, except the Nuclear supplier Group.
There are currently four such regimes under MECR
- The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), for the control of nuclear-related technology.
- The Australia Group (AG) for control of chemical and biological technology that could be weaponized.
- The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) for the control of rockets and other aerial vehicles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.
- The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.
Joint Economic Trade Committee
- JETCO provides a forum to United Kingdom companies to enhance their links and develop new partnerships with India business and decision-makers.
Government to Government negotiations, which address issues of market liberalization and market access, are conducted through the JETCO process.
- The UK India Business Council plays a key role in feeding the views of the UK business community into JETCO process with a view to achieving favourable outcomes for UK companies.
- One of the key objectives of the JETCO process is to unveil opportunities for London’s most prominent institutional investors to invest in India.