Foreign Policy Watch- India-Central Asia

Sep, 12, 2018

[pib] India focus country in Izmir International Trade Show

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Source India Pavilion, Izmir International Trade Show

Mains level: India-Turkey Bilateral Relations


News

Izmir International Trade Show

  1. The Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) led a75-member Indian delegation for the ongoing 87th Izmir International Trade Show in Turkey.
  2. The delegation had several B2B meetings and business tie-ups with members of the Turkish business community.

Source India Pavilion

  1. India is the Focus Country in the trade show with a standalone pavilion named ‘Source India’.
  2. The India Pavilion is a multi-product pavilion, including companies displaying products like ceramics, cereals and mechanical appliances.
  3. These events serve the purpose of opening new areas for co-operation in trade and investment between India and the rest of the world.

India- Turkey Trade

  1. Bilateral trade between the two countries was $7 billion in 2017, an increase of 8% over the previous year.
  2. There is a huge potential for tie-ups between Indian and Turkish agriculture and food processing sectors.
  3. The collaborations may range from farming technology, high yielding varieties, farm machinery, food processing and cold storage.

Back2Basics

Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI)

  1. TPCI is an apex trade and investment promotion organization notified in the Foreign Trade Policy. TPCI is also recognized and supported by the Department of Commerce, Govt. of India.
  2. It provides policy suggestions which are essentially based on inputs collated from research and industry stakeholders.
  3. Aim: To accelerate India’s global trade through advanced research and trade promotion.
  4. Working: Creating global platform for the industry by organizing seminars, trade shows and business delegations through measures usch as-
  • Advanced Trade Research:- Supporting India’s trade policy and economic diplomacy through research.
  • Trade Promotion:- Exploring international trade opportunities in untapped markets and promoting new exporters.
  • Trade Facilitation:- Identifying bottlenecks and bridging the gap between industry and authority by continuous interaction.
  • Investment Promotion:- Exploring scope and facilitating investment in potential business and sectors.
Sep, 05, 2018

[pib] Indo-Kazakhstan Joint Exercise KAZIND 2018

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise KAZIND

Mains level: Indo-Kazakhstan defence cooperation


News

Exercise KAZIND 2018

  1. The Joint Army Exercise will be conducted between the Indian and Kazakhstan Army in Otar region, Kazakhstan.
  2. This is the third joint military exercise between the two countries which have a history of extensive cooperation in the defence arena.
  3. The second edition of the exercise was held in India last year.
  4. The aim of the exercise is to build and promote bilateral Army to Army relations and exchange skills and experiences between Kazakhstan Army and the Indian Army.

Enhancing Defense cooperation

  1. The vast experience and expertise of Indian troops in counter insurgency operations holds special importance to the Kazakhstan Army.
  2. The fourteen days exercise with the Kazakhstan Army will follow a graduated continuum from orientation to a full scale mock exercise.
  3. Another aim is to achieve optimum integration among the two contingents through enhanced mutual comprehension of each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures.
  4. The conduct of the joint exercise will set the stage for greater defence cooperation and consequently will manifest in stronger ties between the two great nations.
Aug, 17, 2018

Caspian Sea breakthrough treaty set to boost oil, pipeline plans

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Caspian Sea Bordering States

Mains level: Changing dynamics of Caspian neighbouring states


News

Consensus over Caspian Sea

  1. Five Caspian Sea states (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan) reached a breakthrough agreement on sovereign rights to the sea.
  2. This paved the way for new oil and gas extraction and pipelines after more than two decades of disputes.
  3. The treaty ends a spat over whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake, granting it special legal status and clarifying the maritime boundaries of each surrounding country.
  4. The five members have tried to define the Caspian Sea’s legal status since the collapse of the Soviet Union, in order to divide up the waters and its natural resources for new drilling and pipelines.
  5. It also allows each to lay pipelines offshore with consent only from the neighbouring states affected, rather than from all Caspian Sea nations.

Huge energy reserves

  1. The territorial disputes have prevented the exploration of at least 20 billion barrels of oil and more than 240 trillion cubic feet of gas, the US Energy Information Administration estimated in 2013.
  2. The new agreement states that the development of seabed reserves will be regulated by separate deals between Caspian nations, in line with international law.
  3. This essentially cements the current situation, since countries such as Kazakhstan and Russia already have bilateral accords on joint projects

Connecting to Europe

  1. The five Caspian Sea nations already develop offshore oil and gas reserves that are located near enough to the coast not to be disputed.
  2. Projects in the northernmost waters Kazakhstan’s giant Kashagan field and Russia’s Filanovsky and Korchagin deposits are seen as sources of future oil-output growth for the countries.
  3. The treaty will also remove a legal barrier to building a trans-Caspian gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Europe.
  4. While the European Union and Azerbaijan have supported the long-planned pipeline project, which could ease Russia’s grip on the EU’s gas market, the Kremlin has opposed it, citing environmental concerns and legalities.

Outstanding Issues

  1. Iran shares smallest boundary with Caspian Sea hence is the least gainer.
  2. It highlighted the issue of the distribution rights of seabed oil and gas deposits over the undiscovered fields.
Aug, 11, 2018

[pib] Exercise SCO Peace Mission 2018

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

Mains level:  Defence cooperation under SCO


News

SCO Peace Mission Exercise

  1. Under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) initiatives, SCO Peace Mission Exercise is conducted biennially for SCO member states.
  2. The joint exercise for the year 2018 will be conducted by Central Military Commission of Russia at Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk, Russia.
  3. This will be a historic occasion due to the maiden participation of India post becoming a full member of the SCO in June 2017.

Importance of this exercise

  1. This exercise marks a major milestone in the multilateral relations of SCO member nations.
  2. It will involve tactical level operations in an international counter insurgency or counter terrorism environment under SCO Charter.
  3. The joint exercise will strengthen mutual confidence, interoperability and enable sharing of best practices among armed forces of SCO Nations.
  4. It will be a landmark event in the history of SCO defence cooperation where Indian and Pakistani armed forces will participate together.
Jun, 20, 2018

[op-ed snap] India’s pivot to Eurasia

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), G-7, Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS)

Mains level:  U.S.-North Korea summit, Trade wars and its impact on India’s interests


Context

Dichotomy for India

  1. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China (June 9-10) attracted little international attention
  2. This was majorly due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s acrimonious public exchanges with other leaders at the G-7 (group of seven industrialized countries) summit (June 7-8) and the headline-hogging U.S.-North Korea summit (June 12)

SCO-Background

  1. The SCO grew out of the Shanghai Five grouping — of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan — which was set up in 1996 to resolve boundary disputes between China and each of the four other members
  2. It admitted Uzbekistan in 2001, re-christened itself the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and broadened its agenda to include political, economic and security cooperation
  3. It admitted India and Pakistan as full members in 2017

Opportunities at SCO

  1. The admission of India and Pakistan has expanded the geographical, demographic and economic profile of the SCO
  2. It now has about half the world’s population and a quarter of its GDP
  3. Its boundary extends southwards to the Indian Ocean
  4. The SCO’s relevance for India lies in geography, economics and geopolitics

How can SCO help?

  1. Its members occupy a huge landmass adjacent to India’s extended neighborhood, where India has important economic and security interests
  2. A narrow sliver of land separates southern Tajikistan from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
  3. It makes sense to strengthen relations with your neighbors’ neighbors if you have complicated relations with your neighbours
  4. With Pakistan joining the Organisation and Afghanistan and Iran knocking on the doors for membership, the logic of India’s membership becomes stronger
  5. India has to carve out a political and economic space for itself in Central Asia, alongside Russia’s role as a net security provider and China’s dominating economic presence
  6. The Central Asian countries would welcome India breaking into this Russia-China duopoly

India-Pak rapprochement

  1. The SCO will nudge both countries to cooperate in sensitive areas
  2. One example is the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO, which coordinates cooperation for security and stability, through intelligence-sharing on criminal and terrorist activities
  3. India has agreed to participate in the SCO’s counter-terrorism military exercises in Russia later this year, when Indian and Pakistani troops will operate together
  4. Tacitly accepting the fact that India and Pakistan are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Qingdao declaration confirms the compliance of the SCO’s NPT signatories to its provisions

Non-Western Perspective on Global Issues

  1. Besides expanding opportunities for India in Central Asia, the SCO is a platform for articulating a non-Western perspective on global issues which distinct from an anti-Western one
  2. This includes opposition to the selective advocacy of regime change, self-serving homilies on human rights and intrusive advice on domestic policies

Challenges

  1. Security and defense cooperation with Pakistan
  2. Increasing Chinese dominance of the SCO
  3. Another possible game-changer could be the fallout of the much-heralded U.S.-North Korea summit
  4. If peace in the Korean peninsula leads to reduced American military presence in the region, it would dramatically change the balance of forces in the Asia-Pacific in favor of China

Way Forward

  1. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the optimal development of India’s relations with Central Asian countries has been constrained by lack of overland access through Pakistan and Afghanistan/Iran, because of political and/or security reasons
  2. With new multimodal transport corridors now envisaged through Iran, there are again prospects of invigorating trade and investment links with this region
Jun, 11, 2018

India, Uzbekistan to route their trade though Chabahar

 

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Mains level: India-Uzbekistan Bilateral Relation and its importance.


News

Growing engagement with resource-rich Central Asia

  1. India and Uzbekistan are set to route their trade through the Iranian port of Chabahar as part of India’s growing engagement with resource-rich Central Asia.
  2. On the sidelines of the summit of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), both nations hoped to supplement their connectivity through the establishment of industrial parks and an investment zone in Uzbekistan.

India keen on Central Asian ties

  1. India has gone the extra mile to engage with the four Central Asian Republics at the ongoing SCO summit, highlighting the critical importance of this resource-rich region in shaping Eurasia.

Back2Basics

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

  1. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organization
  2. The organization, formed in 2001, aims to boost cooperation in economic and security matters between China, Pakistan, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan
  3. India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members on 9 June 2017 at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan
  4. Iran, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and Belarus have been granted observer status in SCO
  5. In 2017, SCO’s eight full members account for approximately half of the world’s population, a quarter of the world’s GDP, and about 80% of Eurasia’s landmass
May, 28, 2018

China invites Iran to attend SCO summit

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, P5+1 group, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Mains level: Iran nuclear deal and its implications on India


News

New geopolitics in Central Asia 

  1. China has invited the Iranian President to participate in the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit next month
  2. The invitation comes at a crucial time after the U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal signed in 2015 between Iran, the European Union and the P5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany), of which China is a member
  3. The summit will be the first after the inclusion of India and Pakistan as members of the organization in 2017

Implementation of JCPOA to continue

  1. Beijing hoped the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) would continue to be implemented
  2. If the JCPoA cannot be further implemented, the normal economic cooperation between the relevant countries will be affected

Back2Basics

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

  1. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organization
  2. The organization, formed in 2001, aims to boost cooperation in economic and security matters between China, Pakistan, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan
  3. India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members on 9 June 2017 at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan
  4. Iran, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and Belarus have been granted observer status in SCO
  5. In 2017, SCO’s eight full members account for approximately half of the world’s population, a quarter of the world’s GDP, and about 80% of Eurasia’s landmass
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