Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

EU’s vaccine travel pass discriminates against low-income countries

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Green Pass

Mains level : Paper 2- Issues with vaccine travel policies

Context

The introduction of Covid-19 vaccines has opened up opportunities to help revive travel. However, it is important to carefully design policies that help revive travel demand.

Vaccine certificates

  • Many countries like China and Israel have introduced vaccine certificates that ease the process of entering and travelling across the destination country for vaccinated travellers.
  • Can encourage discriminatory treatment: Though these certificates can ensure trade facilitation, they can potentially act as a trade barrier if they encourage discriminatory treatment.
  • The recent and the most contentious issue in this regard is the European Union’s “Green Pass” scheme.

Issues with European Union’s Green Pass

  • Through this vaccine certificate, the European Commission intends to remove travel restrictions such as entry bans, quarantine obligations and testing.
  • Only 4 vaccines listed: The EU has listed only four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the pass: Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty, Moderna’s Spikevax, Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.
  • It makes travellers from countries administering alternate vaccines ineligible for certification.
  • When it was launched, the policy did not even allow AstraZeneca’s Indian-manufactured vaccine, Covishield.
  • Against COVAX policy: This goes against the policy of COVAX, which has categorically stated that such measures would effectively create a two-tier system and would negatively impact the growth of economies that are already suffering the most.
  • Discriminatory against low-income countries: Vaccine doses administered per 100 people is 1.4 for low-income countries as compared to 93.2 for high-income countries.
  • This makes travellers from low-income countries ineligible to avail these certificates.
  • As per estimates based on information from the WHO, countries not administering any of the EMA-approved vaccines account for at least 14 per cent of the vaccinated population.
  • These lie mostly in low and middle-income countries, including India.
  • Harms domestic sector: Nationals from many of these countries also serve in the hospitality industries in countries across the world, including Europe.
  • With this exclusion criteria, an indirect cost burden is put on their domestic service sectors that are already reeling due to the pandemic.
  • Against globalisation policy: With such discriminatory intervention, the EU policy does not go well with the globalisation policy of collective welfare.

Steps to boost vaccine production

  • Covid vaccine makers across the world have created a platform, led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, to connect with key raw material suppliers needed for boosting production.
  • In a recent declaration, WTO members have agreed to review and eliminate unnecessary existing export restrictions on essential medical goods needed to combat the pandemic.

Way forward

  • Cooperate on vaccine production: To achieve the desired goal, countries need to cooperate on vaccine production to accelerate the global vaccination process.
  • Remove restrictions and trade barriers: Accelerating global vaccine production makes lifting trade barriers on raw materials for vaccine production critical.
  • The two relevant bodies, WHO and WTO, should also work together to sort out selective criteria for international movement.

Conclusion

Developed countries should refrain from discriminatory international travel policies against low-income countries and focus on increasing vaccine production to close the vaccination gap at the global level.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

EAM hands over relics of 17th century Georgian Queen St. Ketevan to Georgia

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Black Sea mapping

Mains level : India-Georgia ties

After a long-standing request of Georgia, External Affairs Minister handed over the holy relics of 17th century Georgian Queen St. Ketevan nearly 16 years after they were found in Goa.

Who was St. Ketevan?

  • Queen Ketevan was a 17th century Georgian Queen.
  • From Kakheti, a kingdom in eastern Georgia, she was tortured and killed in 1624 in Shiraz during the rule of the Safavid dynasty.
  • Portuguese missionaries were said to have carried the relics to Goa in 1627.
  • In 2005, after years of research and study of medieval Portuguese records, the relics were found at the St. Augustine Church in Old Goa.

Importance of Georgia for India

  • Georgia a strategically important country situated at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
  • Relations between Georgia and India date back to ancient times.
  • The Panchatantra influenced Georgian folk legends. During the medieval period, Georgian missionaries, travelers, and traders visited India.
  • Some Georgians served in the courts of Mughal emperors, and a few rose to the rank of governor.
  • India was among the first countries to officially recognize Georgia, doing so on 26 December 1991.
  • India is a net exporter to Georgia.
  • The main commodities exported by India to Georgia are cereals, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, pharmaceuticals, electrical machinery and equipment, aluminium and aluminium articles.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Sea Bordering Country
1. Adriatic Sea Albania
2. Black Sea Croatia
3. Caspian Sea Kazakhstan
4. Mediterranean Sea Morocco
5. Red Sea Syria

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched? (CSP 2019)

(a) 1, 2 and 4 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India and EU relaunch FTA talks, sign connectivity partnership

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BTIA

Mains level : Paper 2- Talks on India-EU trade agreement resumed

Resumption of FTA

  • Prime Minister of India interacted virtually from Delhi with EU chiefs.
  • India and the European Union agreed to relaunch free trade negotiations by resuming talks that were suspended in 2013 for the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
  • The talks had run into trouble over market access issues, and tariffs by India on products like wine, dairy and automotive parts, as well as EU resistance over visas for Indian professionals.
  • In addition, Indian government’s decision to scrap all Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) in 2015 posed hurdles for new EU investments in India.

Connectivity Partnership document

  • The EU-India leaders adopted a Connectivity Partnership document.
  • The India-EU connectivity partnership committed the two sides to working together on digital, energy, transport, people to people connectivity.
  • The partnership is seen as a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and comes as the EU’s negotiations with China on their Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) have run into trouble.
  • The contract for the second tranche of $150 million from the EU for the Pune Metro rail project was also signed.

No EU support for Covid-19 vaccine waiver

  • India failed to secure the support of the European leaders for patent waivers for Covid vaccine.
  • The support of a major bloc like the EU is crucial to passing the resolution at the WTO by consensus.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India-UK Relations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- India-Britain relations

The article highlights the factors that make building sustainable partnership with Britain hard for India and suggests the ways to find fresh basis for bilateral relationship.

Need to tap potential for bilateral strategic cooperation

  • The long-scheduled summit between Prime Ministers of India and UK will take place with a digital conversation scheduled for Tuesday.
  • India and the UK must tap into the enormous potential for bilateral strategic cooperation in the health sector and contributions to the global war on the virus.
  • Foreign ministers of India, Japan and Australia would also join this meeting to set the stage for the “Group of Seven Plus Three” physical summit next month hosted by the British Prime Minister.

Challenges in forming a sustainable partnership with Britain

  • Few Western powers are as deeply connected to India as Britain.
  • While India’s relations with countries as different as the US and France have dramatically improved in recent years, ties with Britain have lagged.
  • One reason for this failure has been the colonial prism that has distorted mutual perceptions.
  • The bitter legacies of the Partition and Britain’s perceived tilt to Pakistan have long complicated the engagement between Delhi and London.
  • Also, the large South Asian diaspora in the UK transmits the internal and intra-regional conflicts in the subcontinent into Britain’s domestic politics.

Finding fresh basis for bilateral relationship

  • The two leaders are expected to announce a 10-year roadmap to transform the bilateral relationship that will cover a range of areas.
  • Both countries are on the rebound from their respective regional blocs.
  • Britain has walked out of the European Union and India has refused to join the China-centred Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
  • Although both will continue to trade with their regional partners, they are eager to build new global economic partnerships.
  • While remaining a security actor in Europe, Britain is tilting to the Indo-Pacific, where India is a natural ally.
  • India needs as wide a coalition as possible to restore a semblance of regional balance.
  • Britain could also contribute to the strengthening of India’s domestic defence industrial base.
  • The two sides could also expand India’s regional reach through sharing of logistical facilities.
  • Both countries are said to be exploring an agreement on “migration and mobility” to facilitate the legal movement of Indians into Britain.
  • Both sides are committed to finding common ground on climate change.

Consder the question “What are the factors that introduce friction in the sustainability of India’s bilateral relations with the Britain? Identify the areas in which both the countries can find fresh basis for the bilateral relations?”

Conclusion

If leaders of both the countries succeed in laying down mutually beneficial terms of endearment, future governments might be less tempted to undermine the partnership.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy

The Council of the European Union approved conclusions on a European Union strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Aim:

  • To reinforce its strategic focus, presence and actions in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • To contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development at the time of “rising challenges and tensions in the region.”

Rationale:

  • The current dynamics in the Indo-Pacific have given rise to:
    • Intense geopolitical competition
    • Increasing tensions on trade and supply chains
    • Challenges in technological, political and security areas
    • Issues related to Human rights
  • As per the EU, these developments threaten the stability and security of the region and beyond, directly impacting on its interests.

Strategy by European Union:

  • Increased cooperation in the Indo-Pacific
  • Commitment to uphold democracy, human rights, the rule of law and respect for international law.
  • Promote effective rules-based multilateralism
  • Support for ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations)
  • Work to mitigate economic and human effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Support open and fair environment for trade and investment
  • Tackling climate change and supporting connectivity with the EU
  • Conclude free trade agreements with Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand
  • Take steps towards the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China
  • Deepen economic relations with India
  • Develop partnerships in the areas of security and defence
  • Address maritime security, malicious cyber activities, disinformation, emerging technologies, terrorism, and organised crime
  • Extend the geographic scope of its CRIMARIO (Critical Maritime Routes) IIactivities from the Indian Ocean into South and Southeast Asia to contribute to safer sea lanes of communication with the EU.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Why the Indo-Pacific has assumed significance for Europe after the pandemic

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RCEP

Mains level : Paper 2- Asia-EU engagement

The article highlights Asia’s growing significance in the wake of the pandemic. This is underscored by Europe’s meaningful engagement with Asia which is based on an understanding of the region’s geopolitical and economic significance.

Asia’s rise

  • The pandemic has upended many certainties. But it has reinforced one major trend in global politics: The rise of Asia.
  • The region’s rise has created three Asias.
  • First, there is the familiar Asia of businessopen, dynamic, interconnected.
  • Second, an Asia of geopolitics, with ever-starker nationalisms, territorial conflicts, arms races and Sino-American rivalry.
  • Lastly, we have an Asia of global challenges.
  • These three Asias are also marked by 3 dynamics:
  • 1) Geopolitical rivalries that threaten free trade.
  • 2) The fight against the pandemic is mutating into a systemic competition between democracy and authoritarianism.
  • 3) And frenzied economic growth is fuelling climate change.

European strategy for Indo-Pacific

  • Germany together with France and the Netherlands, have commenced work on a European strategy for the Indo-Pacific.
  • The strategy seeks cooperation with all countries of the region: For open economies and free trade; for the fight against pandemics and climate change; and for an inclusive, rules-based order.
  • Such a European strategy for the Indo-Pacific must take all three Asias into account.
  • Europe is a key trading, technology and investment partner for many countries of the region.
  •  The EU recently concluded groundbreaking free trade agreements with Japan, Singapore and Vietnam that set environmental and social standards.
  • In late 2020, the countries of East and Southeast Asia signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, encompassing one-third of the global economy.
  • It is time for the EU to swiftly conclude the ongoing negotiations on trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand – and to move forward with negotiations with Indonesia and India.

Reducing dependencies

  • Following the above policies, Europe will also reduce dependency and following the principle of diversification.
  • Together with its Indo-Pacific partners, Europe can set standards for new technologies, human-centred digitisation and sustainable connectivity. 
  • In this endeavour, Europe can draw on its innovative and economic strength as well as its regulatory power.
  • At the EU-India Summit in May, the launch of a connectivity partnership with India will further connect India’s and Europe’s digital economies.

Rising tensions and rules-based Indo-Pacific

  • Meanwhile, tensions are rising in the Asia of geopolitics.
  • New cold wars or even hot conflicts in the Indo-Pacific would be an economic and political nightmare.
  • Europe must, therefore, take a firmer stand against polarisation and more strongly advocate an inclusive, rules-based Indo-Pacific.
  • The strategic partnership concluded between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last December connects us with like-minded middle powers.

Asia of geopolitical challenges

  • Containing geopolitical rivalries in Asia is also a precondition for shaping the future with the Asia of global challenges.
  •  As the biggest emitters of CO2, the US, China, India and the EU will only win the fight against climate change together.
  • The Leaders Summit on Climate that will be hosted by the US next week sets the stage for cooperation.
  • Europe and the countries of the Indo-Pacific need each other also in the fight against the virus.
  • The EU is by far the biggest supporter of the international vaccine platform COVAX, and India as a leading producer of vaccines is the most important COVAX supplier.
  • We will all benefit from this as, without the worldwide vaccination rollout, mutations will keep on setting us back in the fight against the pandemic.
  • Europe will continue to stand up for human rights and democracy in the Indo-Pacific.
  • This was demonstrated with sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations in Xinjiang — and also against Myanmar’s generals.

Conclusion

Europe is ready for a new partnership — a partnership founded on seeking dialogue with the open Asia of business, taming geopolitical rivalry in Asia together and coming up with responses to the world of tomorrow with the Asia of global challenges. This must be the objective of European policy — for and with the Indo-Pacific

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Recalibrating relations with EU

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Deepening trade ties with the EU

With India about to lose preferential access to the EU, there is a need to deepen the trade and investment ties with the region. The article deals with this issue.

Export potential to the EU

  • India has an untapped export potential of $39.9 billion in the EU and Western Europe.
  • India benefits from tariff preferences under the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for several of these products.
  • In fact, India is among the major beneficiaries of the EU’s GSP, accounting for nearly 37% of India’s merchandise exports.

India losing EU-GSP benefits: Product graduadion

  • Product graduation applies when average imports of a product from a beneficiary country exceed 17.5% of EU-GSP imports of the same product from all beneficiary countries over three years.
  • There are several products where India has export potential in the EU, but these have “graduated” or are at the brink of “graduation” under EU GSP.
  • India’s exports of products such as textiles, inorganic and organic chemicals, gems and jewellery, iron, steel and their articles, base metals and automotives are already out of the ambit of EU-GSP benefits.
  •  In apparel, India’s exports to the EU were valued at $7 billion in 2019, of which nearly 94% was under EU-GSP, indicative of the impact that the graduation may have on apparel exports.
  • Bangladesh’s apparel exports would continue to receive tariff benefits in the EU under Everything but Arms Initiative.
  • Another competitor, Vietnam, concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU in 2019.

Need to deepen trade and investment ties

  • In light of the declining preferential access and the plausible erosion of competitiveness in the EU market, there is clearly a need to deepen trade and investment ties with the region.
  • Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement, which commenced in 2007, is yet to materialise due to lack of concurrence in areas like automotives and dairy and marine products.
  • Therefore, a thorough assessment of the benefits from FTA for domestic producers is warranted, with due consideration to the impact on sensitive sectors, and possibility of inclusion of safeguards such as sunset clause on concessions for some items.
  • Further, there should also be provisions for aspects such as investment and non-tariff measures (NTMs).
  • India also needs to negotiate on investment-related aspects with the EU to foster stronger value chains, especially in technology-intensive sectors in which the EU has a comparative advantage.
  • As far as NTMs are concerned, India faces as many as 414 NTMs in the EU, in a wide array of sectors. FTAs have some institutional arrangements for NTMs.

Consider the question “Forging stronger ties with the EU could pave way for the greater cooperation and stronger trade ties. Elucidate.” 

Conclusion

Post-Brexit EU finds itself in the midst of a growing need for recalibrating ties with its partner countries. Forging stronger ties with the region through a mutually beneficial agreement could help strengthen Indian manufacturing and revitalise the flailing exports.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Swiss Neutrality in World Affairs

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Swiss Neutrality

Mains level : Swiss Neutrality as a foreign policy tool

Switzerland’s traditional foreign policy of neutrality has become attractive again because of the changing political reality in the world, said its Ambassador recently.

Q.In context to foreign policy, discuss the relevance, benefits and limitations of Swiss Neutrality.(150 W)

What is Swiss Neutrality?

  • Swiss neutrality is one of the main principles of Switzerland’s foreign policy which dictates that Switzerland is not to be involved in armed or political conflicts between other states.
  • This policy is self-imposed, permanent, and armed, designed to ensure external security and promote peace.
  • Under this, Switzerland pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world.

Historic significance

  • Switzerland has the oldest policy of military neutrality in the world; it has not participated in a foreign war since its neutrality was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815.
  • The European powers (Austria, France, the UK, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Spain and Sweden) agreed at the Congress of Vienna in May 1815 that Switzerland should be neutral.
  • But final ratification was delayed until after Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated so that some coalition forces could invade France via Swiss territory.

Swiss moves for the status

  • Since World War II, Switzerland has taken a more active role in international affairs by aiding with humanitarian initiatives, but it remains fiercely neutral with regard to military affairs.
  • It has never joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the European Union, and only joined the United Nations in 2002.

Relevance today

  • Neutrality has become necessary as a foreign policy tool as the phase of power politics has returned in world affairs.
  • Now with big power politics, Switzerland’s neutrality and Switzerland as a place to meet is much more attractive again.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

The ‘Difficult Four’ Countries

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Global perception of India's image

A UK think-tank ‘Royal Institute of International Affairs’ has listed India in ‘Difficult 4’; clubs India with China, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

This newscard helps analyse the Western esp. that of the EU’s perception of India and its global image under the present regime.

What is the news?

  • A report called ‘Global Britain, Global Broker’ has warned the UK government to consider India as more of a rival that a cooperative partner.
  • It accepts the fact that India is set to be the largest country in the world by population very soon and will have the third-largest economy and defence budget at some point in this decade.
  • But it cautions that gaining direct national benefit from the relationship, whether economically or diplomatically, will be difficult for the UK government.
  • The report also accepts India’s importance to the UK as being “inescapable”.

The ‘Difficult Four’

  • Clubbing India with China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey as the “difficult four”, the report says the Johnson government should be more realistic about developing deeper ties with India.
  • They may be important to the UK’s commercial interests, but they will be rivals or, at best, awkward counterparts on many of its global goals, the report warns.
  • India is now classed as a country, destined to count among the UK’s “rivals” or “awkward counterparts” as it pursues its global goals.

India has had bitter (colonial) past

  • The think-tank strikes a note of caution over the two countries’ shared colonial history proving a stumbling block to the promise of a deeper relationship.
  • India has a long and consistent record of resisting being corralled into a ‘Western’ camp.
  • As a result, India is always on the list of countries with which a new UK government commits to engage.
  • But it should be obvious by now that the idea of a deeper relationship with India always promises more than it can deliver.
  • The legacy of British colonial rule consistently curdles the relationship.

Indian flaws

  • The report points to India’s “complex, fragmented domestic politics”, which make it one of the countries resistant to open trade and foreign investment.
  • It highlights concerns raised by domestic groups as well as the UN over a “crackdown on human rights activists and civil society groups” not being actively challenged by the judiciary.
  • It raises concern over India’s pursuance of extreme right-winged policies. Indian domestic politics also has entered a more ethnic-nationalist phase, the report argues.
  • Against this backdrop, the report reflects on the prospect of including India within any new Democratic 10 or D10 coalition of 10 leading democracies.

Try this question from 2019 CS Mains:

 

Q.What are the challenges to our cultural practices in the name of secularism? (150W)

UK’s resentment

  • In a critique of India’s diplomatic behaviour, the report points out that despite border clashes with China, “India did not join the group of countries that criticized China at the UN in July 2019 over HR violations in Xinjiang.
  • India has also been muted in its criticism of the passage of the new national security law in Hong Kong.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Europe’s China gambit will fall short of its stated goals

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Comprehensive Agreement of Investment between China and the EU

Mains level : Paper 2- Contours of the post-pandemic world order

Thought the article is not directly related to India, the conclusion of the investment treaty between the EU and China serves as the prelude to the post-pandemic world order which surely matters for India. The article explains the implications of the agreement.

Investment agreement between EU and China

  • Recently, the EU and China announced the completion of a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between the two.
  • The CAI gives European firms enhanced access to the Chinese market, removes (or relaxes) Chinese government requirements on joint ventures and technology transfer in some sectors.
  • The European Commission has claimed that the CAI allows the EU to maintain its “policy space”, especially in “sensitive” sectors such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture, and public services
  • The deal also promises equal treatment with state enterprises and greater regulatory transparency in China.
  • Moreover, the Chinese government has undertaken some obligations on environmental sustainability and labour rights, notably by agreeing to make “continued and sustained efforts” to ratify the Forced Labour Convention.

Reaction to the agreement

  • The US reaction ranged from disappointment to outright hostility.
  • The incoming Biden administration would have preferred a unified front against China, by striking an economic deal with Europe first.
  • For others, it was the EU’s apparent misjudgement on China’s human rights promises.

Post-pandemic world order and role of democracies

  • The Europe-China agreement underscores a fundamental question of the post-pandemic world order: Can democracies remain true to their values while engaging in trade and investment with China?
  • To answer that, we must recognize two facts.
  • First, it is impossible to decouple the economies of the West from the Chinese economy without causing an economic catastrophe.
  • Second, there is little that Western countries can do to reshape China’s state-driven economic model or repressive human- and labour-rights regime.

What should be the approach in dealing with China

  • The West should pursue more limited, more attainable, and ultimately more defensible goals.
  • Two goals are paramount.
  • First, trade and investment rules should be such that Western firms and consumers are not directly complicit in human-rights abuses in China.
  • Second, such rules should safeguard democratic countries against Chinese practices that could undermine their domestic institutional arrangements on labour, environment, technology, and national security.

Lack of clarity over arbitration mechanism

  • The agreement contains an arbitration scheme that enables the parties to bring violation complaints against each other.
  • Arbitration scheme could serve as a means for the Chinese government to challenge specific entry barriers against Chinese firms.
  • How much this mechanism will be sensitive towards the issues such as treatment given to workers or the environmental protection is not clear.
  • Similarly, how much deference will panels show to exceptions to market access based on “national security” considerations is not clear.

Conclusion

We should not judge the CAI by whether it enables Europe to export its system and values. We should judge it by whether it allows Europe to remain true to its own.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India’s new Europolitik

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Coalition with the European middle powers

The article explains the shift in India’s foreign policy in its relations with the European middle powers against the backdrop of churn in the geopolitics.

India’s changing perception of Europe

  • Three recent developments underline India’s changing perceptions of Europe.
  • 1) India’s support for France’s membership of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
  • 2) India’s backing for a larger European role in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Delhi has welcomed the interest of Germany and the Netherlands in building a new geopolitical architecture in the Indo-Pacific.
  • 3) Security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific is also emerging as an important theme in partnership between India and the U.K.

Reasons for India’s shift

  • India is looking beyond the bipolar geopolitical competition between the US and China.
  • Delhi also wants to insure against the inevitable volatility in the complex dynamic between Washington and Beijing.
  • To cope with the uncertain political trajectory of the US, Delhi is already supplementing its American partnership with a network of multilateral groups with other middle powers, such as the India-Australia-Japan forum and the trilateral dialogue with France and Australia.

Rebuilding ties with Europe and challenges

  • Rebuilding ties with Europe needs a significant corrective to Delhi’s traditional strategic neglect of the continent.
  • The bipolar Cold War dynamic and the North-South framework developing world versus the developed prevented Delhi from taking a more nuanced view of Europe’s political agency after WWII.
  • Attempts to impart strategic momentum after the Cold War did not really succeed.
  • As the economic gap between China and India widened, so did the scale of European interest in both countries.
  • It is also true that the European ability to project military power into the Indo-Pacific is limited.
  • But in combination with Asian democracies, Europe can certainly make a difference.
  • It can mobilize massive economic resources, wield political influence, and leverage its significant soft power to shape the Indo-Pacific discourse.

An exceptional relationship with Frace

  • France has been an exception in Europe in its connection with India.
  • India’s partnership with France now has a strong regional anchor — the Indo-Pacific as it has its territories in the Western Indian Ocean and the South Pacific.
  • France and Britain have lingering disputes leftover from the era of decolonization in parts of the Western Indian Ocean.
  • India will have to contribute to the amicable resolution of those problems.

Consider the question “A strong coalition with the European middle powers should be the indispensable element of India’s foreign policy in the face of changing geopolitical circumstances. Comment.”

Conclusion

As China transforms the Eurasian landmass as well as the Indo-Pacific, it is abundantly clear that the US alone cannot redress the imbalance. A strong coalition of Asian and European middle powers must now be an indispensable element of the geopolitics of the East. Such a coalition can’t be built overnight. But India could push for a solid start in 2021.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India-UK Relations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : India-UK ties

India and the U.K. must not allow concerns of the moment to dominate their relationship.

Practice Question: Discuss the opportunities and the challenges in the India-UK relationships. What is the prospectus of India-UK relations after Brexit and Coronavirus pandemic?

Secretary’s Delhi visit

  • British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s Delhi visit came with a declaration of immediate and longer-term goals for the India-U.K. relationship.
  • It prepares the way for PM Johnson’s India visit, as the chief guest at Republic Day and to invite PM Modi to the U.K. to the G-7 and the Climate Change (COP26) summits next year.
  • Johnson will be the first head of government to visit India after the spread of COVID-19; this will also be his first bilateral visit anywhere after Brexit signalling the importance of ties with India.

A new page in ties

  • Upgrading the ties – Both countries up for upgrading of the 2004 India-U.K. Strategic Partnership to a “Comprehensive” Strategic Partnership.
  • This will help to envision closer military ties, cooperation in Indo-Pacific strategies, counter-terrorism and fighting climate change.
  • Hoping for FTA – Britain is on a mission to secure free trade partners after Brexit. It has wrapped up nearly 20 trade deals, including most recently with the U.S., Japan, and Vietnam and is hoping for India to sign the same.
  • Corona pandemic and cooperation for vaccine manufacturing – The highlight of India’s relations will be closer cooperation on the coronavirus vaccine.
  • India’s Serum Institute set to produce and distribute the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in India, and then as part of the COVAX project to other developing countries.

Challenges in India-UK relations

  • Stagnancy in the relations – India-UK relations are stagnant for the past five years due to Britain’s Brexit preoccupation.
  • The relationship has failed to progress in this time, despite visits by Mr Modi and former British Prime Minister Theresa May.
  • Other less important issues gained the narrative – Issues such as visas and the fate of fugitive Indian businessmen in the U.K. have been allowed to dominate the narrative.
  • The MEA had responded sharply to protests at the Indian High Commission in London over the Article 370 move in Jammu and Kashmir, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
  • Britain’s concerns about the farmers’ protests that sparked responses in New Delhi about interference in India’s internal matters.
  • Sometimes, intense interest from the British Indian diaspora makes Indian politics a factor in British politics is a reminder of how closely linked the two countries remain.
  • A new chapter in India-UK relationship would necessarily entail the K. to be more sensitive to India’s concerns, and for India to be less sensitive when Britain expresses its concerns.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Places in news: Luxembourg

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Location of Luxembourg

Mains level : Not Much

Prime Minister has pitched for strengthening ties to further ramp up economic engagement between India and Luxembourg.

Mark the location of Luxembourg. Since it is a landlocked country, there can be a question asking its bordering states.

Luxembourg

  • Luxembourg is a small European country, landlocked by Belgium, France and Germany.
  • It’s mostly rural, with dense Ardennes forest and nature parks in the north, rocky gorges of the Mullerthal region in the east and the Moselle river valley in the southeast.
  • Its capital, Luxembourg City, is famed for its fortified medieval old town perched on sheer cliffs

Why Luxembourg?

  • Luxembourg is one of the most important financial centres globally.
  • Several Indian companies have raised capital by issuing Global Depositary Receipts at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.
  • Luxembourg-based investment funds hold substantial banking and asset management market share in portfolio investments in India.
  • It is also the third-largest source of Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI) in India.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India should believe in the EU

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : European Union

Mains level : Paper 2- Commonalities and areas of cooperation with the EU

India and the EU have many things in common. And there are many areas in which both can expand the cooperation. This article explores commonalities and the areas which offer the scope for enhancing the cooperation. 

Common interests

  • Both aim to enhance strategic autonomy and their global standing.
  • Diversifying strategic value chains is also a common interest.
  • Both seek to address the issue of climate change on an urgent basis.

Economic ties with the EU

  • The EU is India’s largest trading partner accounting for €80 billion worth of trade in goods in 2019.
  • This is equal to 11.1% of total Indian trade.
  • The EU is also the biggest foreign investor, with €67.7 billion worth of investments made in 2018.
  • Which is equal to 22% of total FDI inflows.

Scope for improving the economic ties

  • The EU’s investments in China amounted to €175.3 billion (2018).
  • So, India could succeed in attracting EU investment that might be moving out of China.
  • To attract this outflowing investment, India must address the mutual trust deficit.
  • Enhanced business cooperation can help both the EU and India diversify their strategic value chains.
  • Increasing people’s mobility and connectivity is another area that can create opportunities for innovation and growth.

Talks on FTA

  • Both sides need to move further on the Free Trade Agreement.
  • A new study from the European Parliament estimates the impact of an EU-India trade agreement between €8 billion and €8.5 billion.
  • The study also mentions additional potential gains from enhanced coordination on the provision of global public goods, such as environmental standards.

Cooperation on climate change

  • Under the new industrial strategy, the Green Deal, the EU has set an ambitious target to be carbon-emission neutral by 2050.
  • If the EU and India succeed in transforming into carbon-neutral economies by 2050, we all would gain from the investment.

Strategic partnership with EU

  • The Indo-Pacific region is becoming contentious, so India should capitalise on its geopolitical leverage there.
  • Cooperation with like-minded, democratic powers can support this effort, especially towards assertive competitors like China.
  • The EU as a whole offers more to India than the strongest bilateral relations with individual EU member state.
  • New Delhi must learn how to maximise benefits from this strategic partnership.
  • The disruption caused by COVID-19 has been the occasion for the EU to prove its worth.
  • “Next-generation EU proposal” submitted by the European Commission has economic as well as geopolitical implications.
  • The proposal shows that the ties that bind the EU extend well beyond treaties and individual members’ self-interest.
  • The EU champions the rules-based international order, so the EU and India must act to promote sustainable reform of multilateral institutions starting from the WTO.

Consider the question “India-EU ties with many common interests assume significance as rule-based order is being challenged by the rise of exceptionalism. Comment.”

Conclusion

A strong partnership would help both the EU and India become global decision-makers and tackle the challenges caused by the disruption of global order collectively.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Mapping: Baltic Travel Bubble

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Baltic Travel Bubble

Mains level : Travel restriction in times of COVID outbreak

The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have opened their borders to one another, creating a coronavirus “travel bubble” with an improvised idea to boost travel into their countries.

Mark the following things on Map:

1. Baltic Sea and its bordering nations

2. Irben Strait

3. Gulf of Riga

4. Gulf of Finland

Baltic Travel Bubble

  • The ‘Baltic travel bubble’ aims to facilitate the citizens of these three countries to travel within the region without hassles.
  • However, those who are coming from any other than these three countries would be required to follow self-isolation guidelines and stay in quarantine for exactly 14 days.
  • During the epidemic, Estonia and Lithuania closed their borders to non-citizens and all three nations placed mandatory quarantines for those entering for reasons related to non-work activities.
  • The region has been part of the European Union since 2004 and since 2007 has been a member of the European Schengen Free Travel Area.

Significance of the travel ease

  • The Baltic nations have shown trust in each other’s healthcare system and have concluded that they have been able to tackle the coronavirus outbreak efficiently.
  • For Asian countries including India, these developments can provide interesting pointers when lockdown relaxations pertaining to travel and flights are being considered.

Bonus: Try this question from CSP 2011

Between India and East Asia, the navigation-time and distance can be greatly reduced by which of the following?

1. Deepening the Malacca straits between Malaysia and Indonesia.

2. Opening a new canal across the Kra isthmus between the Gulf of Siam and Andaman Sea.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

Explained: The EU data strategy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Read the attached story

The European Commission has recently released a “European strategy for data… to ensure the human-centric development of Artificial Intelligence” and a white paper on artificial intelligence.

EU data strategy

  • The new documents present a timeline for various projects, legislative frameworks, and initiatives by the European Union, and represent its recognition that it is slipping behind American and Chinese innovation.
  • The strategy lays out “why the EU should act now”.
  • The blueprint hopes to strengthen Europe’s local technology market by creating a “data single market” by 2030 to allow the free flow of data within the EU.
  • To aid a “data-agile economy”, the Commission hopes to implement an “enabling legislative framework for the governance of common European data spaces” by the latter half of the year.
  • By the beginning of 2021, the Commission will make high-value public sector data available free through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) — a pathway for two different applications to speak to each other.
  • Between 2021 and 2027, the Commission will invest in a High Impact Project to jump-start data infrastructure. Several other initiatives are laid out, including a cloud services marketplace.

Why such strategy?

  • The EU has the potential to be successful in the data-agile economy. It has the technology, the know-how and a highly skilled workforce.
  • However, competitors such as China and the US are already innovating quickly and projecting their concepts of data access and use across the globe, the strategy states.
  • With American and Chinese companies taking the lead on technological innovation, Europe is keen to up its own competitiveness.

What does the EU move mean for legislation?

  • Europe has been a frontrunner when it comes to technology regulation.
  • Its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) released in 2018 was a game-changer across the industry. In the recent strategy, the GDPR is seen as giving the “solid framework for digital trust.”
  • Parliamentarians are discussing India’s current Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill in a Joint Select Committee.
  • The recent draft of the PDP introduced a clause on non-personal data, mandating entities to hand over such data to the government on command.
  • This was not included in the draft proposed by the Justice B N Sri Krishna Committee in October 2018.
  • Some of the movement around the PDP Bill comes from a desire to strengthen India’s own data economy, similar to the EU’s desire.

Has India done anything similar?

  • The Union Cabinet approved the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) in 2012.
  • As part of the initiative, the government worked with the US government to release data.gov.in, a site of government data for public use.
  • The Economic Survey of 2018 envisioned a similar use of non-personal data.
  • Just as the EU’s strategy discusses “data for public good”, the chapter titled “Data ‘Of the People, By the People, For the People’” advocated that the government step in to sectors that private players ignore, marking the first time India’s Economic Survey has isolated “data” as a strategic focus.
  • Other data integration efforts have been announced or implemented by NITI Aayog (the National Data & Analytics Platform), the Smart Cities Mission (India Urban Data Exchange), and the Ministry of Rural Development (DISHA dashboard).
  • In 2018, the National Informatics Centre worked with PwC and other vendors to create a Centre of Excellence for Data Analytics aimed at providing data analysis help to government departments.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India abroad: On diplomats firefighting negative references to India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- India's foreign relations with the EU and concerns raised over CAA in EU parliament.

 

Context

The European Union Parliament’s discussion recently on India’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, is a cause of concern.

Reactions in the West over the act

  • In the U.K. and the U.S.:  Parliamentarians in the U.K. and U.S. Congressmen, including Democratic presidential contenders, have asked India to “reconsider” the law and to “engage” with the protesters.
  • Resolution in the EU parliament: The EU parliamentarians went a step further.
    • Six critical resolutions: The EU parliament put out six different and extremely critical resolutions.
    • One of the six articles spoke of the possible risk by the CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens, of creating “the largest statelessness crisis in the world”.
    • A sixth less critical resolution, but which worried about the “brutal crackdown” on protesters, was dropped.
  • Diplomatic outreach by India
    • After India’s intense diplomatic outreach, the parliamentarians agreed to put off voting on the resolution until after External Affairs Minister and the PM visit Brussels.
    • The hope is that with the U.K. scheduled to leave the EU on January 31, interest in the anti-CAA resolutions will wane.
    • Finally, the government has held that the CAA is India’s internal law.

India’s Reaction

  • The sovereign right of India: While the government is right about India’s sovereign right, it would be deluding itself if it thinks any of these explanations are passing muster with the EU parliamentarians.
    • Dilution of case against foreign interference: The government diluted its own case against foreign interference when it facilitated a visit by EU MEPs to Srinagar last year.
    • By engaging the EU MEPs to avoid a vote in the EU Parliament this week, and offering to explain the reasons behind CAA, the government is diluting it further.
  • Need to stop reference to Pakistan: New Delhi must also consider the impact of its repeated reference to Pakistan as the sole mover of any motion against it at world legislatures and fora.
    •  626 MEPs of the total 751 were members of the groups that originally drafted the six resolutions, and it seems unlikely that Islamabad could have achieved such a majority.

Diplomatic toll

  • Cumulative toll: The government must reflect on the cumulative toll on its diplomatic heft following international alarm over the CAA, plans for an NRC and the dilution of Article 370.
  • Instead of pushing a positive agenda for India or handling global challenges, Indian diplomats seem to be overwhelmed keeping out any negative references to India at official fora.

Conclusion

India must take steps to address the concerns raised at the global level over the act and also prepare itself for the possible impact of such actions.

 

 

 

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] It’s not yet Howdy, Modi!

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- India-US ties, what are the issues that introduces friction in the ties between the two.

Context

Persistent in their efforts to remake their countries and their engagement with the world, Mr Modi and Mr Trump are shaking up the bilateral ties between the two countries, and the resultant flux could outlive their tenures.

The emergence of both the leaders on similar promises

  • Improvements over the legacy of their predecessors: Both leaders continuously reiterate that their predecessors were incapable of protecting national interest.
    • The compulsion to reframe the national interest: Such premises commits them both to reframe the national interest, and both have articulated it with clarity and force.
    • For instance, Mr Modi, in Houston in September 2019 and Mr Trump in Davos this week, went great lengths to lay out figures that presented their respective regimes as the most effective guardians.
  • Both have cultural and economic agenda: Both dispensations believe that “the people” had been given a raw deal by earlier regimes.
    • Both have a cultural and economic agenda.
    • National awakening: They are now leading a national reawakening, and working hard for the hard-working people.
    • Both believe that cultural nationalism is a force for the good.
    • Securing borders and entry barriers: Both believe that national borders need to be strengthened by stricter monitoring and setting new bars for entry.
    • Renegotiating the treaties: Both leaders try to renegotiate the contract between the union and the States, and between citizens and the state within their respective countries.
    • The supremacy of executive: They assert the supremacy of the executive over the legislature and the judiciary.
    • Shared values: The notion of shared values of India and the U.S. has acquired a whole new meaning under Mr Trump and Mr Modi.

Politics and governance

  • Hopes of status-quo in bilateral relations shattered: It was hoped that the stronger U.S.-India ties- that have autonomous drivers of convergence-would not be impacted by the nationalist politics of these two leaders.
    • But both leaders have been remarkably true to their politics in their governance.
    • Current tumult in the India-US ties: Shared values notwithstanding, national interests as perceived by these leaders have several points of divergence and therein lies in the current tumult in India-U.S. ties.
    • Opposition to the “world order”: Mr Trump has been outspokenly confrontational with the “world order” that he says has worked against American interests.
    • Dismantling the treaties: America under Mr Trump has wrecked treaties such as the Paris climate agreement and institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, disrupting the “rule-based order”.
    • India’s relations with Bangladesh: India’s spirited outreach in the neighbourhood is still playing out. India’s historically warm ties with Bangladesh have been frayed after CAA.
  • India’s ambitions on the global level
  • The seat at the UNSC: India under continues to push for more space for itself in global affairs by seeking a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and membership.
  • NSG membership: India is also pushing for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • The US actions at global levels
    • Expansion of the principle of the pre-emptive strike: America expanded the principle of pre-emptive strike to include the assassination of a senior official of Iran.
    • Renegotiating the treaties: After dismantling the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mr Trump forced Mexico and Canada to accede to his demands in a new trade deal.
  • The India-US relations and impact of U.S. relations with other countries
    • Impact on India-US ties: India’s ties with the U.S. are impacted by America’s ties with India’s adversaries and neighbours, China and Pakistan.
    • Hopes of alignment in the Indo-US ties: Mr Trump’s bluster against both had lit hope that there would finally be a near-complete alignment between India and the U.S. on strategy.
    • US-Iran conflict: Despite Mr Trump’s avowed opposition to America’s endless wars in West Asia, the US is going against Iran headlong, which is not in India’s interest.
    • Relations with Gulf Countries: Trump and Mr Modi share a strong bonding with the Gulf Cooperation Council kings, but their courses in the region are diverging.
    • US-Pakistan coming closer once again: The American President’s impatience to get out of Afghanistan has already pushed his administration closer to Pakistan, which is now further necessitated by his adventurist Iran policy.
    • The US disregard for China’s expansionist policies: Mr Trump has been singularly focused on one question-trade. He cares little about China’s expansionism and at any rate that is not a factor in his ties with other Asian countries.

India-US ties- Points of fission

  • On the trade front: Mr Trump has bracketed India and China as two countries that have duped his predecessors to gain undue advantage. Which is far from seeing India as deserving special concessions to counterbalance China as old wisdom demanded.
    • Ending GSP: The US ended India’s status under the World Trade Organization’s Generalized System of Preferences and took other punitive measures.
    • India trying to decrease the trade surplus: By increasing hydrocarbon imports from the U.S., the government is trying to reduce India’s trade surplus.
  • Restrictions on H1-B visa: The US has tightened the restrictions on the H1-B visa which is used by the Indian companies.
  • Decreasing bipartisan support in the US: The mobilisation of Indian diaspora in America by the government has resulted in the inevitable blowback.
    • Diaspora divided and bipartisan support waning: The diaspora has been divided, and the bipartisan support for India is now squandered. Progressive sections on the Democratic side and religious libertarians and evangelicals on the Trump side are both concerned over India’s actions back home.

Conclusion

Partnership with America is critical to India. India must take the steps to align the interest but whenever it diverges India must take measures to minimise its impact on India while furthering its interests.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] Acting in concert

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- India-EU relations and scope and areas of cooperation.

Context

The EU-India Strategic Partnership has come a long way in recent years. The relationship is based on long-standing shared values and interests. There are numerous opportunities to unleash the full potential of EU-India cooperation.

India-EU Cooperation on Climate Change

  • The EU has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
  • But EU member states together only account for 9 per cent of global emissions.
  • Need to engage with the rest of the world:  EU-India cannot solve this problem unless they engage with the rest of the world to address it.
    • India’s commitment, as one of the biggest democracies in the world, is a key part of the solution.
    • The mixed outcome of the COP25 Climate Conference shows how much more remains to be done.
    • Clean Energy and Climate Partnership (CECP): In 2016 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and European leaders agreed on an EU-India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership (CECP).
    • EU and International Solar Alliance: In 2018, the EU joined efforts with the International Solar Alliance, headquartered in India.

Cooperation in trade

  • Both are the members of WTO: India and EU both agree on the vital role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the need to overcome the crisis of the dispute settlement system.
    • Ministerial dialogue: The launch of a regular ministerial dialogue on economic, trade and investment issues could give additional impetus to the relations.

Cooperation on security

  • Indian Navy vessels are now escorting World Food Programme ships in the framework of the EU Atlanta operation against piracy off the coast of Somalia.
  • Cooperation on anti-terrorism: Counter-terrorism experts from Europe and India exchange experiences and best practices.
    • As a result, an enhanced working relationship between our police officers is taking shape.

Digital economy and cyber

  • Need to deepen cooperation: EU and India should deepen cooperation to protect fundamental freedoms in cyberspace and the free flow of data – and counter the drift towards high-tech “de-coupling”.
  • India-EU does not want a split in cyberspace, forcing both to “choose sides” between competing systems and standards.
  • India and EU both believe in fair competition, based on global standards, for 5G, AI, big data and the internet of things.

Conclusion

There is much that the EU and India have accomplished in recent years. But there is even more to be done to further strengthen our dynamic dialogue and cooperation in all areas of mutual interest and as players on the world stage.

 

 

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[oped of the day] Raja Mandala: Looking beyond the diaspora

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : India - UK : Role of Diaspora

Context

Indian diaspora rallied behind the Tories, as the Labour Party is hostile towards India on the question of Kashmir. Delhi welcomes the return of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of Britain.

India – Britain

  • There is much distance to cover before problems with London on Kashmir and Pakistan are overcome.
  • On Kashmir – the Labour Party had approved a resolution criticising India’s decision to change the constitutional position of Kashmir. It expressed support for the Kashmiri “right to self-determination” and calling for “international intervention” and “mediation” between Delhi and Islamabad. 

Indian diaspora

  • Nearly 130 Indian community organisations in Britain sent strong messages of protests to the Labour Party.
  • Labour’s Kashmir policy helped unite the Indian community in Britain. 
  • Number – At nearly 1.4 million, the Indian diaspora in Britain is one of the largest and its contributions to civic life — economic, political and social. It has steadily grown over the decades.
  • Problems with British – the problem of British involvement in Kashmir and other India-Pakistan issues are unlikely to disappear.

Competition with Pakistan

  • India is being sucked into an unfortunate competition with Pakistan in diaspora mobilisation in the United Kingdom and beyond.
  • The recent developments in the US show that Pakistan has stepped up the effort to direct its diaspora against India’s Kashmir policy. 
  • Pakistan has strong reasons to extend and deepen its sphere of contestation with India into the domestic politics of the Anglo-Saxon world. Here, the South Asian diaspora is in large numbers.
  • India should avoid the danger of turning this competition with Pakistan as the central preoccupation in dealing with the West and its domestic opinion.

Indian diaspora

  • Though Indian diaspora outnumbers the Pakistani diaspora, it is hard to cope with the larger alliances that are questioning India’s current domestic policies. 
  • The new coalitions bind the Pakistani diaspora with the communities of Muslim organisations and human rights groups. 
  • India needs to reassure friendly constituencies in the West that are concerned about the nature of recent developments in India.

Kashmir question

  • In the first term of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook’s interventionist policy on Kashmir wrecked Queen Elizabeth’s visit to India in 1997 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Independence. 
  • Conservative prime ministers before Johnson sought to move Britain decisively away from Labour’s tilt towards Pakistan on Kashmir.
  • It has been a lot harder to change the attitudes of the British establishment or the “deep state”.

Way ahead

  • India’s most recent political spat with London was under the Conservative government of Boris Johnson. 
  • It was over the British role in the United Nations Security Council discussions that after Delhi’s decision to alter the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Delhi must manage the tactical shifts in the British establishment’s attitude to Kashmir and other bilateral issues between Delhi and Islamabad.
  • It must also recognise that Britain has its own interests in Pakistan and faces pressures to respond to them.

Role of diaspora

  • Mobilising the diaspora can only be a small part of India’s strategy in getting Britain to change its approach towards its issues with Pakistan. 
  • India’s economy is nearly 10 times larger than that of Pakistan. There is a much larger swathe of shared interests between Delhi and London. There are other ways of persuading the British establishment to rethink its stance on India.

Conclusion

  • Delhi must now focus on the new possibilities with Britain presented by Boris Johnson’s victory.
  • India has to take full advantage of the historic shift in Britain’s international orientation — economic and political.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[oped of the day] Strengthening the Asia-Europe partnership

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ASEM

Mains level : ASEM - India

Context

ASEM, or the “Asia-Europe Meeting” is a highly relevant event for our continents.

ASEM

  • It brings together 53 partners made up of the 28 EU member states, Norway, Switzerland and the EU, and on the Asia side, 21 countries and the ASEAN secretariat.
  • It represents 55% of global trade, 60% of global GDP, 60% of the global population and 75% of global tourism.
  • In recent years, ASEM has become increasingly relevant and strategic.

Engaging on global issues

  • Global issues – There is a clear willingness from ASEM countries to engage on global issues – from supporting sustainable development, to rules-based global trade, to information sharing on cross-border threats, to the prevention or peaceful resolution of conflicts. 
  • Multilateralism – it is a key platform to uphold and promote rules-based, multilateral approaches. 

Actions

  • Sustainable connectivity and combating climate change are key themes.
  • Green deal – The EU made the Green Deal and the commitment to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. 
  • Need global partnership – To safeguard our planet and to promote sustainable development, cooperation with Asia is key.
  • International issues – issues on the international agenda such as the situation on the Korean peninsula and in Rakhine State, the West Asia peace process, Iran and the wider region, and efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan are a few. 
  • Other areas of cooperation – uphold multilateralism, address security challenges, promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Sense of partnership

  • Relations with other countries – the two can work together with Africa, the Western Balkans, finding a solution to the situation in Libya, or a peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, on Iran etc.,
  • People to people relations – students from both the continents swap Europe for Asia to study at universities; business transactions take place between European and Asian companies, tourism, research on ground-breaking innovation.

Conclusion

  • There is a need to create the environment and the conditions to enhance the connections between our societies and our citizens. 
  • It’s time to translate Europe and Asia’s power into a real partnership.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: Reaching out to Europe

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Alliance for Multilateralism

Mains level : Importance of Eurasia for India

CONTEXT

The growing importance of Eurasia for India’s changing geopolitics is evident. Various ideas about Eurasia

  • India does not believe that there is tension between the concepts of Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific. 
  • Russia and China see the “Indo-Pacific” as an effort to contain China.
  • The US believes that the promotion of “Eurasia” is an idea of China and Russia to marginalise the US in the continent.

Indian Ocean

  • India is located at the crossroads of Asia and at the heart of the Indian Ocean. 
  • India sees itself as a maritime power in the Indo-Pacific with interests in continental Eurasia. 
  • Thus Europe is seen as the right partner in overcoming the presumed tension between the two concepts. 
  • The importance of India’s new alliance with France is highlighted through IN-FRA, which is critical for India in both the maritime and continental domains.

How a partnership with Indo-Pacific helps

  • Renewed tensions between Russia and the West have reduced chances for India to maneuver. France is leading a new effort to ease the conflict between Russia and the West. 
  • Russia was suspended from the G8 forum after its intervention in Ukraine in 2014. France and Germany are planning to make a fresh bid to resolve the European stand-off with Russia on Ukraine.
  • Japan has consistently sought to resolve the long-standing territorial dispute with Russia and make Moscow a partner in the Japanese strategy for the Indo-Pacific. 
  • France is ready to work with India in developing new coalitions to stabilise the Indo-Pacific. It wants to prevent the littoral from becoming a hostage to the vagaries of US-China relations.
  • US-China tensions over trade. India should support the initiative by France, Japan and others to save the global trading system through much-needed reforms. Working with Europe and Japan might lend greater weight and credence to India’s trade diplomacy.
  • India has a strong interest in joining the “Alliance for Multilateralism” that calls for modernising international institutions, strengthening the rules-based order and promoting global, rather than national, solutions to global challenges.

Way ahead

  • India should also elevate Central Europe in the list of diplomatic priorities.
  • There is room for expanding cooperation between India and the Central European states. India’s traditional method of engaging Europe through big powers has neglected the enormous possibilities for mutual enrichment with other European states as well as the European Union. 
  • No prime minister has visited Hungary since Rajiv Gandhi in 1988 and Poland since Morarji Desai in 1979, underlines India’s strategic neglect of Central Europe all these decades. 

 


Back2Basics

Alliance for Multilateralism

  • It is a German initiative backed by France.
  • It does not include the US, Russia, and China, but is drawing many middle powers like Japan and Canada in the developed world and South Africa in the developing world.
  • The alliance is set to be launched later this month on the margins of the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York. 

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

[op-ed snap] Talking trade with the EU

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : India-EU FTA

CONTEXT

As the economy begins to suffer from the U.S.-China trade war, it is imperative for India to pursue a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU). 

Why EU

  1. Moving beyond the U.S. and China, this is the right time for India to engage the EU.
  2. It as an indispensable democratic partner to craft a favourable geo-economic order. 
  3. India risks being left behind amidst a collapsing global trade architecture, rising protectionism and a new emphasis on bilateral FTAs
  4. India is the only major power lacking an FTA with any of its top trade partners, including the EU, the U.S., China, and Gulf economies. This is a problem as most trade is now driven either by FTAs or global value chains.
  5. EU’s revived focus on FTAs could exacerbate this risk for India. EU concluded a trade deal with Vietnam and an FTA with the Mercorsur countries in South America. India is hanging on to its Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status.
  6. India’s status under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) will face rising competition from Pakistan or Sri Lanka, who enjoy GSP+ benefits.
  7. India will struggle to keep exports competitive for Europe, which is its largest trade partner and where 20% of its exports land up.
  8. Concerns about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are not resolved yet.
  9. The collapse of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and concerns about excessive economic reliance on China have propelled the EU to become a little more pragmatic.
  10. EU India a unique regulatory model that balances growth, privacy, and standards. 

Progress in talks

  1. From agriculture to intellectual property, the EU and India have been exchanging and aligning views on many issues. 
  2. New areas like e-commerce have seen convergence because India’s position on data privacy is not that different from the EU’s. 
  3. India can delay discussions about the free flow of data and freeze differences on the tax moratorium issue or data localisation while committing to liberalise in other areas.

Way ahead

  1. Beyond mere economic cost-benefit analysis, India must approach EU FTA from a geostrategic perspective.
  2. EU negotiators are now more willing to make concessions on labour or environmental regulations.
  3.  India’s governance framework shares the European norms of democratic transparency and multi-stakeholder participation in a variety of new technological domains.

CONCLUSION

When New Delhi speaks of Europe as a strategic partner to uphold a multipolar order, it must go beyond security and begin with the business of trade and technology.

Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India gets first TIR shipment via Chabahar Port from Afghanistan

Note4students

Mains Paper 2:IR| Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  TIR Convention

Mains level: Significance of trade through Chabahar Port


News

  • The first shipment under the United Nations ‘Transports Internationaux Routiers’ (TIR) convention arrived in India from Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar Port.

Transports Internationaux Routiers

  • India had joined the TIR Convention (the United Nations Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets) on June 15, 2017.
  • The convention is adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
  • The convention allows goods to be outlined in a TIR carnet and sealed in load compartments.
  • Customs officials verify the carnet and check the seals, with no need for physical checking of the contents, enabling shipments to pass through countries without being opened at borders.
  • Reciprocal recognition of customs controls is at the heart of the Convention.
  • This enables a facilitative and non-intrusive environment for multi-modal transport of goods through several countries.

Benefits of TIR

  • The TIR convention will help in fast and easy movement of goods across multiple countries under a common customs document and guarantee.
  • It will help boost India’s exports and enable greater participation in the global value chains.
  • TIR will play a pivotal role in improving ease of doing business and pave the way for smoother and safer transport of goods across international borders.
  • It will help boost trade between India, Central Asia, Europe and Russia.

Timeline of EU

Timeline of European Union
source

19 April 1951: European Coal and Steel Community Treaty signed by Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium and Netherlands.
May 1952: European Defence Community (EDC) Treaty.
August 1954: France rejects the EDC treaty.
25 March 1957: Treaties of Rome signed: creates Common Market / European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community.
1 January 1958: Treaties of Rome come into effect.

1960s

1961: Britain tries to join the EEC but is rejected.
January 1963: Franco-German Treaty of Friendship; they agree to work together on many policy issues.
January 1966: Luxembourg Compromise gives majority vote on some issues, but leaves national veto on key areas.
1 July 1968: Full customs union created in the EEC, ahead of schedule.
1967: British application again rejected.
December 1969: Hague summit to “relaunch” the Community, attended by heads of state.

1970s

1970: Werner Report argues economic and monetary union possible by 1980.
April 1970: Agreement for EEC to raise own funds through levies and customs duties.
October 1972: Paris Summit agrees plans for future, including economic and monetary union and ERDF fund to support depressed regions.
January 1973: UK, Ireland and Denmark join.
March 1975: First meeting of the European Council, where heads of state gather to discuss events.
1979: First direct elections to European Parliament.
March 1979: Agreement to create the European Monetary System.

1980s

1981: Greece joins.
February 1984: Draft Treaty on European Union produced.
December 1985: Single European Act agreed; takes two years to ratify.
1986: Portugal and Spain join.
1 July 1987: Single European Act comes into effect.

1990s

February 1992: Maastricht Treaty / Treaty on European Union signed.
1993: Single Market begins.
1 November 1993: Maastricht Treaty comes into effect.
1 January 1995: Austria, Finland and Sweden join.
1995: Decision taken to introduce the single currency, the Euro.
2 October 1997: Treaty of Amsterdam makes minor changes.
1 January 1999: Euro introduced in eleven counties.
1 May 1999: Treaty of Amsterdam comes into effect.

2000s

2001: Treaty of Nice signed; extends majority voting.
2002: Old currencies withdrawn, ‘Euro’ becomes sole currency in majority of EU; Convention on the Future of Europe created to draw up constitution for larger EU.
1 February 2003: Treaty of Nice comes into effect.
2004: Draft constitution signed.
1 May 2004: Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Slovenia join.
2005: Draft constitution rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands.
2007: Lisbon Treaty signed, this modified the constitution until it was deemed a sufficient compromise; Bulgaria and Romania join.
June 2008: Irish voters reject Lisbon Treaty.
October 2009: Irish voters accept Lisbon Treaty.
1 December 2009: Lisbon Treaty comes into effect.
2013: Croatia joins.
2016: United Kingdom votes to leave.

Growth of EU
source

Structure of EU

European Union seven institutions
source

The European Union has seven institutions: the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Council, the European Central Bank, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Auditors.

  • The European Council gives direction to the EU and convenes at least four times a year. It comprises the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and one representative per member state; either its head of state or head of government.
  • The European Council has been described by some as the Union’s “supreme political authority”. It is actively involved in the negotiation of the treaty changes and defines the EU’s policy agenda and strategies.
  • The European Council uses its leadership role to sort out disputes between member states and the institutions and to resolve political crises and disagreements over controversial issues and policies.
  • The European System of Financial Supervisors is an institutional architecture of the EU’s framework of financial supervision composed by three authorities: the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority.
  • To complement this framework, there is also a European Systemic Risk Board under the responsibility of the ECB.
  • The aim of this financial control system is to ensure the economic stability of the EU.
  • The European Parliament allows the citizens of the EU to participate directly in European political affairs. The citizens of the 28 member states appoint their deputies in the national elections for a five-year period. These deputies are to represent the interests of their electors on a European level. The latest elections (by direct universal suffrage) took place in May 2014.
  • The European Commission (EC) is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate. The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission (informally known as “commissioners”).
  • The Court of Justice of the European Union is the Union’s only body of a legal nature. It is a sort of legislative watchdog in charge of verifing the interpretation and the application of community legislation.

 

Importance of EU:

  • The European Union is our largest trading partner, and our largest export destination. And it is our largest source of Foreign Direct Investment.
  • However, India’s exports to EU in 2014-15 had shrunk (-) 4.4 per cent year on year to $49.3 billion. Imports from EU had also contracted (-) 1.5 per cent in 2014-15 to $49.2 billion.

Deadlock in Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BITA)

The BTIA negotiations have remained deadlocked over growing differences regarding greater market access sought by both sides for merchandise exports.

EU’s main Demands

  • EU has been keen on reducing or abolishing tariffs in several sectors, including in the automobile and wine and spirits sectors.
  • India’s import duty on cars are between 60 and 120 per cent as against the EU’s 10 per cent.
  • The EU is keen that India should adopt stringent IP protection standards even if that means going beyond the WTO specified standards.
  • The problem of India’s model BIT
  • India’s new model bilateral investment treaty (BIT) is another major contentious issue, especially for foreign investment.
  • Given the experiences of major European companies such as Vodafone and Cairn, who are battling the imposition of retrospective taxes by India, the EU is deeply concerned about the protection of its investments in India.

India’s main demands

  • India’s main demands on data security status (crucial for India’s information technology sector to do more business with the EU firms), easier temporary movement of skilled professionals and seamless intracorporate movement.
  • The EU should do away with their non-tariff barriers that seem to have been erected mainly to protect some of their local firms but not as much for better safety or quality.
  • India has also sought agricultural market access in the EU as well as disciplining of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (norms related with plants and animals) and Technical Barriers to Trade.

 

Other major issues between India and EU:

  • Human rights violation: One of the ostensible reasons for stalled talks between the European Union (EU) and India had been the EU concern over human right violations in India.
  • Italian marines case has also played a spoiler in the EU-India relationship.
  • Arbitrary Ban: In August 2015, India had deferred FTA over the EU imposing a ban on sale of around 700 pharma products.

 

13TH INDIA-EU SUMMIT

The 13th EU-India Summit was held in Brussels on March 2016.

Outcome of summit:

The 13th India-EU Summit concluded in Brussels without a consensus on a bilateral free trade deal even as progress was made in bilateral cooperation in other fields — from foreign policy to outer space.

Following are the major outcomes of the summit:

EU-India Agenda for Action-2020

India and the European Union (EU) have endorsed the ‘EU-India Agenda for Action 2020’ as a common road map for the strategic partnership in the next five years.

  • Foreign Policy and Security Cooperation: Strengthen foreign policy cooperation, in areas of mutual interest such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East/West Asia, Europe, and other relevant areas.
  • Security: Strengthen cooperation and work towards tangible outcomes on shared objectives of nonproliferation & disarmament, counter-piracy, counter-terrorism (including counter -radicalization) and cyber security.
  • The two sides agreed to cooperate in countering violent extremism, disrupt recruitment of terrorists and prevent the free passage of foreign fighters.
  • They have also agreed to explore the possibility of India and EUROPOL, the EU law enforcement agency, to share intelligence.

The Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), which was also adopted, is designed to control and organize migration a pressing concern for the EU.

  •  The Agenda also includes the prevention of human trafficking and promoting international protection as priority areas.

Joint Declaration on an India-EU Water Partnership (IEWP): The objective of this Joint Declaration is to strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities of India and the EU in the field of water management on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit.

  • Joint Declaration on a Clean Energy and Climate Partnership.
  • Both sides agreed to further the negotiations on early conclusion of the BTIA.
  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an agreement with India to release the first tranche of 200 million euros of its total 450 million euros loan towards the construction of the Lucknow Metro’s first line.

Challenges before EU:

  1. Eurozone crisis- The root of this problem is lied in the formation in EU itself. Crisis in one country affects the other countries as well, and now many countries in EU are facing economic crisis(PIGS countries) and it has affected other prosperous countries like France and Germany as well. 
  2. Refugee crisis– Situated aside Mediterranean sea, it has become a destination for many refugees who left their home from West Asia and North Africa due to troubled conditions in these regions. the influx of so many refugees has created problems related to higher economic burden in already suffering europe, law and order problem, ethnic clashes between natives and migrants etc.
  3. Problem of extremism- The rise of ISIL and the recent attacks in Paris and Belgium has exposed the vulnerabilities of youths in europe towards extremist ideologies as the attacks were happened with no outside supports.

 

European Refugee Crisis

Eu union crisis explained
source

Huge number of refugees and migrants have been shifting to Europe, from many countries like Syria, particularly since 2011. They see Europian Union (EU) as their asylum. With more number of refugees coming in at a time when the natives don’t want any more, the whole situation has developed into a crisis. This crisis is called European Refugee Crisis.

The refugees are not only from Syria!

More than 5 Lakh people have crossed to Europe by sea and land. Most of them are from Syria – troubled not only by civil war, but also by the most violent and inhumane atrocities by ISIS. But Syria is not the single source. They come from areas such as the Middle East (Syria, Iraq), Africa (Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Gambia), South Asia and Central Asia. According to International Organisation for Migration (IOM) statistics, a substantial number of refugees are also from Afghanistan and Pakistan too due to unending civil conflicts in these countries.

The phrase “European migrant crisis” became widely used in April 2015, when five boats carrying almost two thousand migrants to Europe sank in the Mediterranean Sea, with a combined death toll estimated at more than 1,200 people.

Migrants and Refugees – Statistics

  • According to UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, 59.5 million people were forcibly displaced in 2014 which again rose considerably in 2015.
  • A record number of 1,07,500 migrants reached the borders of European Union in recent months.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, around 30, 000 have perished along these borders.

This figures stand as a witness that this crisis didn’t started only after ISIS emerged. The increasing number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Europe is seen as a dangerous growing trend among refugees. In 2014 alone around 24,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum. Many of the children who arrive are at the age group of 15 to 17 with no formal schooling adding more headaches to host countries.

The European Response to Migrant Crisis

Germany and the EU have been pushing for other EU members to work out a plan for asylum seekers. Britain leads among countries which strictly rejects it. The Right-Wing PM of Hungary has appealed to refugees not to try and cross into Hungary which has fenced its borders with razor wire. Bulgaria, Czech, Slovakia and Poland all are reluctant in taking of refugees making the situation grave.

Germany is expected to give green signal to almost 1 million applicants for asylum. After extensive criticisms by Media on Refugee crisis, EU has started to take few favourable steps.  

Initially Europe greeted immigrants with barbed wires, tear gas and police brutality. Only after huge outcry across International media and from human rights and progressive organisations within Europe, eased the curbs on refugees.

Aylan: Another incident which helped to garner pro- refugee sentiments was photo of dead child Aylan on a beach. A mishap happened from his father who accidently dropped him from an overcrowded boat while trying to escape. These photos send jitters across world and thanks to social media which made sure that this photo was seen by everyone who has an account.

Also Pope Francis statement that every Church in Europe should take a refugee family has given hope to many that it may change the mood in European Right Wing’s mind.

Countries have started to take more refugees peacefully now. European people have been welcoming refugees with water, food, shoes and blankets. Though Italy, Greece and Hungary are the frontline countries of reception, most sort after destinations are Germany, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland.

Why Europe?

Europe is the most preferred destination for the people from this war conflicted regions as its economically prosperous, socially secure and has friendly immigration laws.

Mostly it’s not because refugees are opportunists that they walk to EU but it’s due to dangerous situation they and their families has to live. Endless wars, conflicts have ruined their countries political, economic and social equilibrium.

Also it’s surprising why GCC countries never have been helpful or receptive to refugee crisis especially when it’s happening in their backyard. Rich countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar has to play more pro- active roles in this situation. So obviously Europe as nearest land seems to be their immediate hope to go as they can trek or use boats or ships to reach.

Macro level causes for Refugee Crisis

  • West: A short and quick look into history will show you that countries who are responsible for this situation are the ones who have to bear pain of this crisis i.e Europe or to put in a cliché ‘West’ inclusive of US. Middle East can be said as the holy grail of West since oil was accidentally found by two American gentlemen in Saudi Arabia. No doubt it was a boon to natives and even to millions of Asian and African immigrants to Middle East but also it paved the way to unending geo-political crisis across the region. Before finding oil just like Asia and Africa European colonialism had sucked all its wealth and when time came to leave the place like everywhere, Imperial powers left without solving issues created by them mainly land disputes within neighbours. Example is Israel and Palestine issue.
  • Dictatorship regimes and Islamic fundamentalism: Continuous dictatorship type regimes and Islamic fundamentalism made Middle East most volatile n disturbed place on the planet. Western powers in order to make their oil supply smooth and to be part of Gulf Boom started in early 80’s always took a partial stand on these issues.
  • Shia-Sunni divide: Another villain to already worsened situation was Shia-Sunni divide among people, society and regimes which led to many conflicts.  This reason has led many natives to flee as refugees in the past from Palestine, during Iraq-Iran war, Iraq-Kuwait war etc.
  • Wars: This refuge crisis has given Europe a reality check on its wars on many regions of MENA (Middle East and North African region). Wars on these lands didn’t ease the situation even though they were able to kill or defeat dictator leaders. By war, infrastructure and liveable conditions of already abysmal level got more deteriorated.  These resulted natives of these lands to search green pastures which happened to be Europe and hence started Refugee crisis.
  • Democracy movements and civil war: Present refugees crisis didn’t started yesterday but it has been seen a huge surge from Libya conflict. If we go again back refugee problem as a crisis started from US, UK joint war to liberate Iraq.
  • ISIS: Emergence of ISIS just sky rocketed the whole thing. Western powers in a way failed to bring stable regimes to these lands.  People in a way got sandwiched between atrocities of ISIS or ineffective regimes backed by West on one side and on the other side hunger, poverty and tyranny. Only way to survive for them was to initiate long walk towards Europe! Thus started one of the biggest Exoduses ever seen in history.

Adding fuel to fire

  1. Saudi Arabia has been attacking and bombing Yemen.
  2. Asylum denied refugees may join ISIS.
  3. Turkey’s intolerance with Kurds

Syrian Conflict have been going on for 4 years but why suddenly this crisis?

  • War in Syria against ISIS is not getting any better. It made Syrians to leave their country to Turkey which is closest and they thought once war is over, they can return.
  • Even though Turkey has taken 2 million refugees, it’s not a country for people to stay in the long run as Right to work for refugees are not legal yet. Also new regime of Turkey is also not quite favourable to refuges as previous government. It has made refugees reluctant to go to Turkey.
  • UN organisations working with millions of refuges in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon are running short of funds to keep up the relief work and expenses of camp making people to think of going to Europe. Similar is the situation among UN camps catering to the needs of refugees in Eastern Europe.
  • Many people have saved required money to use legally or illegally to get into Germany.
  • People have familiarised with the route via Balkan to trek to EU.
  • EU countries have been sitting as a lame duck all this year’s talking, discussing on refugee crisis without sensing urgent need of a solution or to deal with such a situation.
  • Still EU should understand that what they are facing now is just a tip of iceberg compared to neighbouring countries of Syria when it comes to dealing with refugees.

Conclusions with Possible Solutions

West in a way with its narrow minded Foreign Policy have destabilized West Asia and Middle East and now cannot show their back on refugee crisis.

  • Europe should include US which has been largely elusive on whole issue till now.
  • GCC countries should involve more in accepting refugees. It’s a blunder what Saudi Arabia is doing right now by attacking and bombing Yemen currently which will only add more refugees.
  • If Europe is going to push back the refugees, the situation will be more vicious. Such a stupidity will increase the chances of refugees joining with ISIS as they won’t have any other options to survive.
  • Turkey should end its anonymity with Kurds and involve them more into finding a solution and to defeat ISIS. 
  • Assad regime should be made more accountable.
  • Include Russia and organise an all-out war against ISIS.

Finding a formula based solution which will end all tyranny is not practical but it’s time that Europe and US sit together and re-check their neo imperialistic and double faced foreign policies in West Asia and Middle East.

Also Western powers should stop Saudi Arabia from funding Wahhabis ideology being spread in Middle East society which is resulting in more Islamic fundamentalism helping organisations like ISIS and Boko—Haram.

To all those who oppose to support refuges,“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.”   – Carlos Fuentes.

INDIA-GERMANY

Introduction  

Bilateral relations between Germany and India are based on a sound foundation of mutual respect, understanding and support. The cooperation between both countries covers a wide range of areas from political action and growing economic exchange to landmark cultural events.

It is complementary as India and Germany both contribute their particular and unique strengths to this truly strategic partnership.  

The relationship, based on common values of democracy and rule of law has gained significantly in strength in the 1990s following India’s economic liberalization and the end of cold War. The strategic partnership between India and Germany gained light with the signing of Germany and India cooperate closely on the issue of UNSC expansion within the framework of G-4.

Historical Background  

  • The history of Indo-German political relations goes back to the late nineteenth century, when the ‘Imperial German Consulate’ (Kaiserlich Deutsches Generalkonsulat) started operating from Calcutta (now Kolkata).  
  • As one of the first countries, India diplomatically acknowledged and accepted the Federal Republic of Germany after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The diplomatic recognition of Germany by the Indian government smoothened the way for a long lasting and continuous relationship for over 60 years up to the present day.  
  • Thus, in 1951, the Indian Union and Germany decided to establish economic relationships to gear up their partnership. With that in mind, the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made his first visit to post-war Germany and its first Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (Christian Democratic Union – CDU) in the same year.  
  • Also, Germany established its Consulate General in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1951, leading of the establishment of a full-fledged Embassy in New Delhi in 1952

Importance of Germany for India

India and Germany share strong bilateral relations extending over economic, cultural and security issuesECONOMIC IMPORTANCE 

  • Germany is the largest trade-partner of India in Europe.
  • Germany’s importance can be traced from the fact that India has announced a Fast-Track mechanism for German Companies in the DIPP.
  • Germany’s looks forward to employ young Indian labour to overcome its demographic deficit.

STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE 

  • India and Germany seek a permanent seat with veto powers at the United Nations Security Council and have joined with Japan and Brazil to co-ordinate their efforts via the G4 collective.

SECURITY IMPORTANCE 

  • Technologically advanced Germany can contribute a lot to India to strengthen its security programs. Currently, both nations are holding meetings on Counter-Terrorism and Cyber-Dialogues.
  • Germany supports India’s membership to NSG and MTCR(Missile Technology and Control Group.

ROLE OF GERMANY IN INDIA’s RENEWABLE ENERGY SECTOR 

  • Germany has invested heavily in the Green Energy Corridors Partnership and has extended co-operated in the India-Germany Solar Energy Partnership which can help India achieve its target of 175 GW by 2022. 
  • Germany has also extended its help to India’s National Electric Mobility Mission which can reduce the dependence on the fossils.

German Economy  

Germany – the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe’s largest – is a leading exporter of  machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force  German Economy contracted by 5.1% in 2009 but grew by 3.6% in 2010, and 3.1% in 2011.

The recovery was attributable primarily to rebounding manufacturing orders and exports – increasingly outside the Euro Zone. The worsening euro-zone financial crisis and the financial burden it places on Germany as well as falling demand for German exports has made domestic demand a more significant driver of Germany’s economic expansion.  

Economic Relations  

  • Germany is India’s most important trading partner within the European Union and the sixth most important trading partner in worldwide comparison. Since the beginning of the Indian reform policy in 1990, the bilateral trade volume has risen from 2.7 billion Euro to 16 billion Euro in 2014.  
  • Germany is the 8th largest foreign direct investor in India since 2000. German FDI in India during the period 1991-February 2015, was valued at US$ 8.25 billion. German FDI in India in 2014 was to the tune of US$ 1.15 Indian investments in Germany have also shown a remarkable increase in the last few years and have invested over US $ 6 billion in Germany, mainly through M&As.  
  • In the first 7 months of 2015, the bilateral trade volume compared to the previous year rose by 13%. German exports rose by 17.5%, while imports from India rose by 8,1%. The German trade surplus of around 1.9 billion Euro in 2014 is based on a high demand for German capital goods.
  • These are machinery that amount to a third of German exports to India, as well as electronic technology, metal ware, chemicals, automobiles and automotive parts. Indian exports to Germany consist mainly of textiles, chemicals, electronic technology, metal ware, leather and foods.

 

Angela Merkel Visit to India 2016

Bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Germany have been traditionally strong due to commercial, cultural and technological co-operation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to India for the Third Indo- German Inter-Governmental Consultations.

A total of 18 agreements were signed, which covered a wide range of topics — from skill development to education, science and technology to aviation.

Highlights of the visit

  • Germany returned to India a 10th century Durga idol that had gone missing from a temple in Kashmir over two decades ago.

“Fast-track clearance mechanism”:

  • In a bid to attract German investment, India decided to set up a “fast-track clearance mechanism”. The only other such country-specific mechanism is for Japan.
  • The fast-track system for German companies will be taken care of by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), and will become operational by March 2016.
  • The two leaders also underlined the importance of freedom of navigation in international waters and the right of passage and other maritime rights in accordance with international law, in an apparent reference to growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.
  • Germany has expressed its inability to sign the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with India, citing its provision for “death penalty” for heinous crimes and terror activities.
  • India and Germany agreed to resume talks towards a free trade agreement between Asia’s third-largest economy and the European Union.
  • Germany is India’s largest trading partner in the E.U. and one of the top ten global trading partners.
  • The overall exchange of goods and services between the two countries was valued at around around 15.96 billion euros last year, a drop of €1.14 billion from the level of €16.10 billion registered in 2013.
  • German Chancellor highlighted problems that German businesses have faced in operating in India, and hoped that the new agreement for a special “fast-track” mechanism would help them secure licences and clearances expeditiously.

Cooperation in clean energy:

  • The two countries agreed on the India Germany Climate and Renewable Energy Alliance — a comprehensive partnership to harness technology, innovation and finance in order to make affordable, clean and renewable energy accessible to all.
  • Germany has committed to providing an assistance of over 1 billion Euros for India’s Green Energy Corridor and a new assistance package of over 1 billion Euros for solar projects in India.

Germany is India’s “natural ally”

  • India’s natural partners would be countries that, on the one hand, do not compete with it either in the Market place or in power politics, and, on the other, have something to offer India that it lacks.
  • By assisting India in the quest for development and geo-economic growth, Germany has the opportunity to bolster their own rise in geopolitical terms.
  • Germany has surplus capital, modern technology and a demographic deficit.
  • India has a deficit of capital, lacks modern technology and has exportable human capital.

UN Security Council reform

Germany and India are vigorously pursuing UN security reform along with Japan and Brazil.

INDIA AND FRANCE

  • Relations between India and France have traditionally been close and friendly. With the establishment of strategic partnership in 1998, there has been a significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation. President François Mr. Hollande was Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade.
  • The relationship is based on shared values and real convergence on a whole range of regional and global issues.
  • France was the first country with which India entered into an agreement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation.
  • France has consistently supported India’s increasing role in international fora, including India’s permanent membership of the UNSC.

Trade relation

  • India-France trade hovers around $8 billion, which is half of India’s trade with UK or Germany. A big reason for this is the impasse in India’s economic relations with the European Union.
  • More than a thousand French companies have a total investment of about $20 billion in India.

Strategic partnership

  • In the post-Cold War period, France was the first country with which India established a ‘strategic partnership’. The only major Western power that described the U.S. as a “hyperpuissance” (hyperpower) and openly espoused the virtues of multi-polarity found a natural ideological convergence with India’s ambitions of seeking strategic autonomy.
  • After the nuclear tests in May 1998, when India declared itself a nuclear state, France was the first major power to open talks with the country.
  • The strategic dialogue has been institutionalized at the level of National Security Advisors, and covers nuclear, defence, space and counter-terrorism, cyber security issues.
  • These have been given a boost by the agreement on intelligence-sharing and cooperation on investigations and judicial processes.

Rafale deal

  • India would buy 36 of the fighter planes in flyaway condition, citing critical operational requirements of the Indian Air Force.
  • The two countries have signed a MoU on purchase of Rafale fighter jets.

Nuclear agreement

  • The Jaitapur project, where French company Areva is to set up six nuclear reactors with a total power generation capacity of about 10,000 MW, has been stuck for long because of differences over the cost of the power generated.
  • Both countries have decided to clear the logjam by splitting the problem into different silos — allowing for separate mechanisms for the pricing issues and for the technical and legal aspects.

Solar energy

  • French President inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the International Solar Alliance at Gurgaon.
  • The French Development Agency will allocate for the development of solar energy €300 million over the next five years.
  • The International Solar Alliance, envisaged to bring together 122 countries that lie wholly or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, is an initiative announced by Mr. Modi at the COP 21 Summit in Paris in November 2015. The member countries are to be those that enjoy 300 or more days in a year of bright sunlight.

INDIA AND ITALY

Italian marine case

An international arbitration tribunal has ruled that Italian marine can return to Italy until it decides a dispute raised by Italy about India’s jurisdiction to try him and his colleague for the killing of two Indian fishermen in February 2012.

Subsequent to tribunal ruling, The Supreme Court ruled that Girone (Italian marine) can return to Italy while an international tribunal decides on a jurisdictional issue between India and Italy. The Supreme Court laid down conditions for releasing Mr. Girone.

  • He continues to remain under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and report to the local police station in Italy once every month. Also, the Italian authorities will keep the Indian embassy informed.
  • Envoy’s responsibility: The Italian Ambassador will take the responsibility of ensuring his return within a month in case the tribunal rules in favour of trial in India.

Background of the Case

Two Italian marines-Massimiliano Latorre and Mr. Girone are facing the charge of murdering two Indian

fishermen in 2012 off the Kerala coast.

Italy position

  • The Italian position is that the two marines positioned on board a merchant tanker, theEnrica Lexie, had opened fire to thwart what they perceived as a pirate attack 20.5 nautical miles off Kochi.
  • It is further argued that the death of the two Indian fishermen occurred in the course of the discharge of their operational duties, and hence functional immunity could be invoked as related to the military personnel of any nation.
  • Italy argues that the case should not be heard in India because the incident occurred in international waters.

India’s position

India has steadfastly rejected Italian argument and has invoked its sovereign right to prosecute the accused under the provisions of Indian law.

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

In June 2015 Italy approached the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg.

  • The tribunal is adjudicating only on the limited question of whether India or Italy has the jurisdiction to try the two marines.
  • In August 2015 ITLOS ordered that: “Italy and India shall both suspend all court proceedings and refrain from initiating new ones which might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the Annex VII arbitral tribunal or might jeopardise or prejudice the carrying out of any decision which the arbitral tribunal may render.”
  • Subsequent to the ITLOS ruling, both parties agreed that the dispute would be resolved under the UNCLOS tribunal.

May 2, 2016: A U.N. arbitration court rules that India should release Italian marine Salvatore Girone.

  • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)
  • It is an intergovernmental organization created by the mandate of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. It was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on December 10, 1982.
  • The tribunal is based in Hamburg, Germany.
  • The Tribunal has the power to settle disputes between party states.

INDIA-UK

Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit the UK in almost a decade.

  • The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together to build such an enhanced and transformative partnership for the betterment of their two countries and the world.
  • India and the U.K. announced an enhanced defence and strategic partnership as well as a civil nuclear agreement
  • Both countries for the first time, jointly pushing for the UN comprehensive convention on international terrorism (CCIT), and strengthening strategic cooperation and intelligence-sharing through annual consultations.
  • £9.2 Billion of commercial deals between the UK and India announced during the visit and listed in the annex.
  • Both countries announced three UK-India city partnerships with Indore, Pune and Amravati to support India’s ambitious urban development goals through technical assistance, expertise sharing and business engagement.
  • Both countries have launched a new Thames/Ganga partnership for healthy river systems. This partnership will consist of a collaborative programme of research and innovation to enable the sustainable management of water resources in the Ganga basin and a policy expert exchange in 2016 supported by the UK Water Partnership.
  • Announcement of setting up of joint India-UK Vaccine Development collaboration between the Department of Biotechnology and Research Councils, UK.

Trade and investment

  • U.K. is the largest G20 investor in India, while India invests more in the U.K. than the rest of the European Union combined. India has also emerged as the third largest source of FDI for the U.K. Indian companies employ 110,000 people in the UK.
  • Foreign direct investment inflows from Britain to India between April 2000 and March 2016 were worth $23.1 billion. The UK has accounted for 8.56% of total foreign direct investment in India during the last 15 years.
  • Bilateral trade has stalled at the level of $ 15-16 billion.

Visa issue

  • India has conveyed its concerns to the UK authorities about the new British immigration law that will impact professionals earning below 35,000 pounds annually.
  • Thousands of Indians and other nationals from outside the European Union (EU) living and working in Britain on a tier-2 visa may have to leave or be deported if they earn less than €35,000 a year once the terms of the visa expire.
  • Indian professionals have formed the largest category of individuals issued such visas by the UK over the years.
  • Indian professionals are also facing visa related challenges in other countries, including the U.S. India has dragged the U.S. to the WTO over its decision to impose high fees on temporary working visas.

Issue of Pakistan

  • India believes that the UK should take a tougher line with Pakistan on terrorism. The UK argues that it needs to maintain a positive relationship with Pakistan, not least because of the size of the Pakistani diaspora.

UK PM visit to India 2016

In November 2016 Prime Minister of United Kingdom Theresa May was on three day visit to India, and it was her maiden visit to India after becoming Prime Minister of UK. India and United Kingdom enjoys the cordial relations since long time. Both countries are considered as two pillars of the Commonwealth, sharing democratic values and a world view on many political issues including terrorism. 

Key Agreements signed during the visit

  • UK’s PM Theresa May offered frequent registered traveller scheme for Indians travelling to Britain for business.  
  • The UK is also planning to restrict immigration through “work and study routes” which will have an impact on Indians being hired by British firms.
  • Both countries reaffirmed the importance of the strategic partnership between both and it delivers huge benefits for both countries. 

About the traveller Scheme  

Under the scheme, Indian nationals frequently visiting to the U.K. and contributing to growth in both countries will have a ‘significantly easier’ entry process including fewer forms to be filled, access to the EU-EEA passport controls, swifter passage through airports.

It will give a boost to trade and investment in both the∙ countries and strengthen ties between two nations.

About the Immigration Scheme

As per the proposal  

  • Immigration system will be re-looked if it provides the right incentives for businesses to invest in British workers.  
  • From December 2016, landlords renting out property to people with no right to be in the UK will be committing a criminal offence and could go to prison.  
  • Immigration checks will be a mandatory requirement for those wanting to get a licence to drive a taxi.  
  • From 2017, banks will have to do regular checks to ensure they are not providing essential banking services to illegal migrants.

Prospective impacts of the Immigration Scheme  

  • The tightened immigration will “ensure gaps in the UK’s labour market.  
  • The crackdown will affect students from India planning to study in the UK; their numbers are already at an all-time low.  
  • The move may make it difficult for British firms to hire from outside the EU, including countries like India.

 

BREXIT

Brexit is a term used to define United Kingdom coming out of EU. Recently in a referendum conducted in United Kingdom, UK voted by a narrow margin in favour of Brexit. Negotiations are undergoing currently between United Kingdom and European Parliament to negotiate the terms of the exit deal.

About EU

European Union or EU is an experiment to transform the relations between nations based on functionalist ideology. It envisages to transform the relations between nations by enmeshing them in economic, social, cultural, political partnership. EU is currently a block of 28 countries and 19 countries have formed Eurozone.

Formation of European Union is an outcome of Single European Act, 1991. 
Mashtricht Treaty converted the EU into a monetary union.
Lisbon Treaty strengthened political, foreign affairs and security integration of policies of countries of European Union

Constitutional Provision of Brexit:

Brexit
source

Lisbon Treaty (Article 50) provides for exit of member countries from European Union. For any country to come out of European Union, it has to negotiate a deal with EU. The deal will provide for a settlement between EU and UK

Opinion of Political Groups

  • UK Independence Party, under the leadership of Nigel Farrage led the “Leave” campaign of UK
  • Labour Party, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn led the “Stay”’ campaign of UK
  • David Cameron, ex PM of UK agreed to hold a referendum on Unikted Kingdom’s future in EU. Conservatives were in favour of staying in EU

Why the clamour for Brexit

  • Economic reasons – The primary contention was that economically, Britain loses more than what it gains.
    1. The first issue being that of membership fees paid – about 340 pounds per year per household
    2. Secondly, it was said that EU’s policies were too protectionist and did not favour competitiveness to the extent that would be beneficial for the British economy
    3. Post the Sovereign Debt Crisis, EU introduced Fiscal Compact and tighter control on national budgets. Britain was not comfortable with these ideas
    4. Germany’s proposal to impose taxes on financial transactions (Tobin Tax) also did not find favour with London, which is an important financial hub.
  • Immigration issues
    1. Half of British legal migrants come from EU. There is this feeling that they have a negative impact on UK born workers. Adding credence to local fears was the fact that since 1997, 3/4th of jobs created are taken up by EU immigrants
    2. EU’s obligation on its members to accommodate more refugees also did not find favour with UK. Especially at a time when the refugee influx in Europe is at an all time high in light of multiple crisis in Middle East and Africa
    3. There is also this perception that immigrants pose a threat to national security
  • Sovereignty Issue
    1. EU is a transformative idea in many senses. One of the things that it leads to is the weakening of national sovereignty. EU has been pushing for creation of an Ever Closer Union which would accord greater decision making powers to European Parliament, while, limiting the authority of British Parliament.

Impact of Brexit:

On UK Economic

  1. EU is a large market. 45% of British exports are directed towards EU. EU is the largest market for UK’s exports and one of the major sources of UK’s imports. Except Germany and Sweden, UK has a positive Balance of Trade with all other countries of EU. Post Brexit, access to EU markets would suffer for UK
  2. Britain has emerged as a major financial hub. Post Brexit, the financial/services sector in UK would take a hit. We have already seen the London Exchange soaring down post Brexit
  3. Immigrants to EU are better educated and skilled and offset the demographic disadvantage. That advantage will be lost for UK.

Geopolitical

  1. It raises questions over the future of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their desire to stay in Uk was preconditioned on UK remaining a part of EU. The Scots have already started demanding for a referendum on Scotland’s futute in UK. Even in Northen Ireland violence erupted post the Brexit vote
  2. In an interconnected world, being a part of multilateral organizations is key to influence policy matters. No country can do it alone in a rapidly changing international environment. Similarly UK would lose some of its leverage now that it has voted for Brexit. Pursuit of sovereignty in purist terms in an interconnected world is a utopian idea

On EU

  1. The idea of EU stands challenged. EU whose origin lied in the centuries of war that ravaged Europe was a transformative idea in international relations, enmeshing countries in cooperation. With the exit of UK, there is a possibility of other countries such as Greece etc to follow suit. Thus the idea of EU stands challenged.
  2. EU is currently under multiple crisis emanating from financial slowdown, Russian challenge, security concerns. EU and Britain separately would not be able to handle a resurgent Russia. Similarly to deal with the security threats in Europe requires countries to act in concert and not independently

 

On India

Cons

  1. The immediate impact of Brexit is an increase in risk aversion when it comes to investing, especially in light of the possibility of other countries following suit. This will affect the FPI outflows from foreign portfolio investors.
  2. Rupee may depreciate because of the double effect of foreign fund outflow and dollar rise
  3. IANS report says that Britain ranks 12th in terms of India’s bilateral trade with individual countries. It is also among 7 in top 25 countries with which India enjoys a trade surplus. India invests more in UK than the rest of Europe combined, emerging as the 3rd largest FDI investor. Access to European markets, therefore, is a key driver for Indian companies setting shop in UK. Britain coming out of EU is likely to affect the business prospects of these companies.
  4. Nasscom in a recent report held that IT and ITeS industry of India will have a negative impact of close to $108bn. The impact can be seen in medium term (2-3 years). Indian IT companies with European headquarters in the UK would need to spend on infrastructure and staff for setting up a new office in the EU. (There are approximately 800 Indian companies in Britain)
  5. Immigration (student and professional): Work-related visa restrictions have already resulted in a fall in the number of Indian students in the UK. Following Brexit, the number of Indian students applying to UK universities and colleges might reduce further. Sceptics also fear that visitation rights of relatives who have families in UK might also be affected. Also, those applying for visas in Britain may face a hard time. With Brexit, the government’s stance on immigration will likely curb overall immigration into the country.

Pros

  1. While on the positive side, Brexit has driven away fears of a US Fed rate hike and could lead to lower commodity prices
  2. UK loses a huge preferential market in the EU and would seek to build new alliances and trade pacts. India being one of the the fastest growing economies is rightly poised to gain from this development. The migration of EU skilled labour would decrease and english speaking Indian talent pool is definitely going to benefit out of it.
  3. Indian students should be able to secure more financing for their college degree, as preferential scholarships to EU countries will reduce. This would mean India could be seen exporting more talent than present levels.
  4. Devaluation of rupee might enhance India’s export competitiveness.
  5. The positive side will be the trade deals with india. Indo-Eu bilateral trade agreement has not made much headway in years so we may be able to strike a better agreement with UK. 
  6. Also, let us not forget than India is a former colony of Britain and a member of Commonwealth of Nations. With UK separated from EU, it would want to create new economic alliances and may tilt towards its former colonies. 

 

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