Southeast Asia, China adopt framework for crafting code on South China Sea

In News

Foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea. But critic seen it as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power.

What is the reason for dispute ?

  • The region hold a wealth of untapped oil and gas reserves and besides roughly more than $3 billion of ship-borne trade passes every year.
  • China claims 90% of the South China Sea.
  • Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also contest China’s claims to islands and reef systems closer to their territory than China.
  • China says it follows a historical precedent set by the nine-dash line that it drew in 1947 following the surrender of Japan.
  • The line has been included in subsequent maps issued by government.

What is the current framework seeks for ?

  • Framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea.
  • This was ignored by claimant states, particularly China, which has built seven manmade islands in disputed waters, three of which are equipped with runways, surface-to-air missiles and radars.
  • The framework is only an outline for how the code will be established.
  • Some nations wanting mention of a dispute resolution mechanism and respecting “sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction”. Sovereign rights cover entitlements to fish and extraction of natural resources.
  • Several ASEAN countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines, have said they still favour making the code legally binding, that China is unlikely to agree to.

How the critic seen the framework ?

  • The failure to outline as an initial objective the need to make the code legally binding and enforceable or have a dispute resolution mechanism, raises doubts about how effective the pact will be.
  • China’s sudden interest in the code after 15 years of delays is to drag out the negotiating process to buy time to complete its strategic objectives in the South China Sea, through which more than $3 billion of ship-borne trade passes annually.

Source : Economic Times

GS II : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

India, Japan civil nuclear deal comes into force

Why in news ?

The India-Japan Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy entered into force on July 20, 2017 with the exchange of diplomatic notes.

About the deal

  • The pact was signed in Tokyo during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan on November 11, 2016.
  • India is the first non-member of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT)to have signed such a deal with Japan.
  • The deal will help India access Japan’s nuclear market.
  • Pave the way for enhanced cooperation in energy security and clean energy.
  • It seeks to promote full cooperation between the two countries in the development
  • It helps to use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes on a stable, reliable and predictable basis.
  • The deal is essential for bringing a network of nuclear energy cooperation for India, especially with the U.S. as prominent American nuclear companies are owned by the Japanese nuclear majors like Toshiba.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

EU, India set up fund for investments

In News

European Union (EU) and India on Friday announced the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU investments in India.

Importance of IFM

  • The mechanism will allow for a close coordination between the European Union and the Government of India with an aim to promote and facilitate EU investment in India.
  • Key objectives of paving the way for identifying and solving problems faced by EU companies and investors with regard to their operations in India.
  • IFM will cover new investors as well as those already established in India.
  • The IFM is also going to serve as a platform for discussing general suggestions from the point of view of EU companies and investors
  • IFM would boost and encourage the EU investors to avail the investment opportunities available in India.
  • EU-India aims to oppose protectionism and to work in favour of a fair, transparent and rule-based trade and investment environment.

EU investment

Trade and Investment are key elements of the EU-India Strategic Partnership launched in 2004. Along with being the first trade partner in goods and services, EU is one of the biggest provider of foreign investment in India, with a stock exceeding $81.52 billion. There are currently more than 6,000 EU companies present in India, providing direct and indirect employment to over 6 million people.


Source : The Hindu

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

APG meet on money laundering in Colombo

 

In News

Policy frameworks on checking terror financing will be one of the issues to be taken at the Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering meet, in which representatives of 41 countries, including India, participate in Colombo. The APG meeting is scheduled to be held from July 17 to 21.

Important discussion on

The Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) initiatives on curbing money laundering and terror funding in different parts of the world will also be discussed. Among the participating member countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Maldives, United States, Australia, Canada, China and Pakistan.

Major Concerns

  • Held in the backdrop of a spurt in terrorist activities, would also be attended by representatives of the Philippines, where security forces are currently engaged in a fierce battle with Islamic State-linked militants.
  • Indian agencies have taken strong measures and registered several terror financing cases in the recent past.
  • Following allegations of its failure in controlling the funding of terror outfits, the International Cooperation Review Group of FATF had requested the APG to furnish a follow-up report on Pakistan.

Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering

  • Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) style regional body for the Asia/Pacific region.
  • It is an inter-governmental (international) organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • The APG consists of 41 member jurisdictions and a number of observer jurisdictions and international/regional observer organisations.
  • Objectives of the organization : assessing anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism, supporting implementation of the international standards, conducting research and analysis into money laundering and terrorist financing trends and methods.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

U.S. may tighten rules for foreign students

In News

Foreign students in the United States may be required to reapply every year for permission to stay in the country. The proposal under consideration by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is implemented.

Current regulations

  • International students can stay in the U.S. as long as they are enrolled for a programme.
  • Students who enter the U.S on F-1 visas are issued an entry document with an end date that states duration of stay which is theoretically open-ended.
  • They can stay as long as they have a valid I-20 document, which is issued by the university, with all details regarding the student’s programme of study, financing, etc.
  • They can also move from one programme to another and from one institution to another, by a notification to the DHS, based on a new I-20 document that the institution issues.

New proposal

  • If implemented, will make their visa status time-bound.

  • The proposed measures could increase costs and paper work for students and universities.
  • The proposal is part of an ongoing review of the immigration policy to ensure that it promotes the national interest, enhances national security and public safety and ensures the integrity of our immigration system.

Impact of new proposal

Indians are the fastest growing group  in the U.S with 1,66,000 students from India pursuing higher education in the U.S. A large majority of them pursue science, technology, engineering and math courses. Around 1.4 million international students are currently present in the U.S.


Source : The Hindu

GS II : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

Sri Lanka bans bottom trawling

Why In News ?

Sri Lankan ban on bottom trawling,to prevent the state’s fishermen from exercising traditional fishing rights in the Palk Bay.

What is the concern ?

The Sri Lankan assembly amended the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act. As per the new rule, a fine of 50,000 Lankan rupees (LKR ) will be imposed along with imprisonment of up to two years on those found guilty of bottom trawling.  Rule is expected to affect a section of fishermen from Tamil Nadu which engages in bottom trawling.

What is Bottom trawling

Bottom trawling is an industrial fishing method where a large net with heavy weights iseffects-of-bottom-trawling dragged across the seafloor, scooping up everything in its path from the targeted fish to the incidentally caught centuries-old corals. Bottom trawling is unselective and severely damaging to seafloor ecosystems. The net indiscriminately catches every life and object it encounters. Thus, many creatures end up mistakenly caught and thrown overboard dead or dying, including endangered fish and even vulnerable deep-sea corals which can live for several hundred years.

Some fishermen from Tamil Nadu use this method of fishing, a section of fishermen from the northern Sri Lanka also engage in bottom trawling.


Source : The Hindu

GS II : India and its neighborhood- relations

India to join new Global Foreign Exchange Committee

In News

India will soon get a seat on the Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC), a newly-constituted forum of central bankers and experts working towards promotion of a robust and transparent forex market.

The committee has been set up under the guidance of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), an international financial organisation owned by 60 member central banks, representing countries from around the world.

Global Foreign Exchange Committee

  • The Global Foreign Exchange Committee was established in May 2017
  • To promote collaboration and communication among the local foreign exchange committees (FXCs) and non-GFXC jurisdictions with significant FX markets
  • Exchange views on trends and developments in global FX markets, including on the structure and functioning of those markets, drawing on information gathered at the various FXCs.
  • It will promote, maintain and update on a regular basis the FX Global Code (the Code) and to consider good practices regarding effective mechanisms to support adherence.

Bank for International Settlements : An international financial institution owned by central banks which fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks. The BIS carries out its work through its meetings, programmes and through the Basel Process hosting international groups pursuing global financial stability and facilitating their interaction. It also provides banking services, but only to central banks and other international organizations.


Source : Economic Times

GS II : Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

G-20 leaders propose Hamburg Action Plan at summit conclusion

In News

G-20 summit that took place in Germany’s Hamburg city ended with the leaders proposing the Hamburg Action Plan to address major global challenges, including climate change, harnessing digitalisation, and to contribute to prosperity and well-being.

Outcome of the summit

Common goal of the G-20 as forum for international economic cooperation. Leaders pledged to progress towards their joint objective in the G20, which is strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

Common challenges to the global community :  Including terrorism, displacement, poverty, hunger and health threats, job creation, climate change, energy security, and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development and stability.

  • On Climate Change : Members also agreed that the Paris Agreement is irreversible reiterated the importance of fulfilling the UNFCCC commitment by developed countries in providing means of implementation including financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions in line with Paris outcomes.
  • On Globalisation : Stressed on the importance of harnessing the benefits of globalisation, reaffirm the importance of transparency for predictable and mutually beneficial trade relations, harness digitalisation to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Employment : Underlined to boost employment by improving global supply chains, which have been recognised as an important source of job creation and balanced economic growth.
  • Financial Stability : Work to finalise the Basel III framework without further significantly increasing overall capital requirements across the banking sector
  • On Public Health : G-20 leaders also called for safeguarding against health crises and strengthening health systems. Combatting Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), which is a growing threat to public health, aim to have implementation of our National Action Plans, based on a One-Health approach
  • On corruption : The leader in the G-20 Summit also remained committed to fighting corruption, including through practical international cooperation and technical assistance, and will continue to fully implement the G-20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2017-18.

Source : DNA

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

PMO, NSA tracking impact of Chinese FDI in South Asia

In News

The Centre has begun its first ever in-depth assessment of Chinese investments in India’s neighbouring countries. The exercise  being conducted mainly from India’s national security perspective  has been initiated by the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Security Adviser

Need for the Assessment

The increasing influence of China in the Indian sub-continent and South Asia, India’s reservations regarding the initiatives like BRI/OBOR and its effect on strategic and security concerns of the nation. Chinese investments in countries like Pakistan could, in turn, set the stage for Pakistan to make inroads into markets in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal and challenge the presence of Indian firms in these markets, where India is currently the major player.

Method of assessment

  • The study will be dynamic and is expected to look into various trends, tracking a surge, if any, in Chinese FDI in the region.
  • The nature and impact of Chinese FDI in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Also the study will track Chinese investments in Afghanistan and Maldives too.
  • Study will also analyse the impact of these Chinese investments including those being made as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as One Belt One Road or OBOR) on India’s national security  as it is expected to cover regions including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Challenges for the assessment

Major challenge in the study will be the lack of detailed, country-wise data on overall FDI (year-wise) and Chinese FDI, in particular.


Source : The Hindu

GS II : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

UN adopts global treaty banning N-weapons

In News

Over 120 countries in the United Nations voted to adopt the first-ever global treaty to ban nuclear weapons  legally binding instrument to prohibit atomic weapons.

Background

In October last year, more than 120 nations had voted on a UN General Assembly resolution to convene a conference to negotiate the legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

  • The first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years, was adopted by a vote of 122 in favour to one against (Netherlands) and one abstention (Singapore).
  • Substantive session was held in March this year to negotiate the legally binding instrument aimed at prohibiting nuclear weapons.
  • The treaty will be open for signature to all States at UN Headquarters in September and enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 50 countries.
  • Adoption of the treaty represents an important step and contribution towards the common aspirations of a world without nuclear weapons.
  • Treaty prohibits a full range of nuclear-weapon related activities, such as undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons.

India’s Stand

  • India  had not participated in the negotiations and abstained from voting on that resolution.
  • It was not convinced that the proposed conference could address the longstanding expectation of the international community for a comprehensive instrument on nuclear disarmament.
  • India underlining that international verification was essential to the global elimination of nuclear weapons, the current process did not include the verification aspect.

Other nuclear-armed nations

  • The United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel had not participated in the negotiations.
  • Permanent members of the UN Security Council seen the initiative, clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment.
  • Ban on nuclear weapons that does not address the security concerns which continue to make nuclear deterrence necessary cannot result in the elimination of a single nuclear weapon and will not enhance any country’s security, nor international peace and security.
  • Criticised the treaty for not providing any solution to the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear programme.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

India,Bangladesh to construct bridge along Mizoram border

In News

India and Bangladesh have decided to construct a bridge over Mizoram’s Khawthlangtuipui river to facilitate trade and improve communication between the two neighbours.

About the plan

  • The proposed bridge would be an important linkage between India  and   Bangladesh.

    Bangladesh Mizoram

    Source : Google Map

  • It has been proposed that the location of the bridge be made as closer as possible to the nearest land custom station in the Bangladesh side.
  • the two countries inspected possible locations to construct the bridge and will decide the location later.
  • Mizoram shares a 318 km unfenced border with Bangladesh.

Importance of bridge

The bridge would not only improve road connectivity between the two regions but also strengthen the ties between the people of the two countries living both sides of the borders.


Source : BS

GS II : India and its neighborhood- relations

2017 G20 Hamburg summit : PM Modi’s 11-point Action Agenda

In News

2017 G20 Hamburg summit was the twelfth meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20), which was held at Hamburg Messe, in the city of Hamburg, Germany.

11 Point agenda by PM Modi

  • Deterrant action against nations supporting terrorism must be made compulsory, such nations should be barred from G20.2016-11-30-logo_g20_gipfel_2017_in_hamburg
  • G20 nations must exchange lists of suspected terrorists and their supporters.
  • Legal processes such extradition should be simplified and expedited.
  • Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism should be adopted soon.
  • UNSC resolutions and other international processes should be effectively implemented.
  • G20 nations should give emphasis to de-radicalisation programmes and exchange best practices.
  • Terror financing should be curtailed by means of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other means.
  • Weapons and Explosive Action Task Force (WEATF) should be constituted on lines of FATF so that sounrce of weapons to the terrorists is stopped.
  • G20 nations should cooperate in cyber security, with a focus on terrorist activities.
  • National Security Advisors on Counter Terrorism mechanism should be constituted.

Group of Twenty

  • An international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies.
  • Currently, these are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union
  • G20 economies account for around 85% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), and two-thirds of the world population.

Source : DNA

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 

 

 

Parliamentary secretaries’ appointment set aside

In News

The Punjab and Haryana High Court set aside the appointment of four MLAs as chief parliamentary secretaries in the Manohar Lal Khattar government.

Issues

Court’s verdict came on a petition filed in public interest by challenging the appointments.

  • Under the constitution there was no provision for the post of chief parliamentary secretaries and their appointment.
  • Besides being unconstitutional, it was a burden on the State exchequer and the taxpayer.

States View

The chief parliamentary secretaries were appointed to assist Ministers in public interest in view of their varied duties.

Parliamentary Secretary vs Article 164 (1A)

Parliamentary secretary post is in contradiction to Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution which provides for limiting the number of Ministers in the State Cabinets to 15% of the total number of members of the State Legislative Assembly.


Source : The Hindu

GS III : Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

 

BRICS Beijing Declaration On Education

In News

BRICS ministers of education and assigned representatives adopted Beijing Declaration on Education in a meeting at Beijing.

Beijing Declaration On Education

  • Ministers from BRICS countries discussed education reforms, approaches to promoting equity in education and fostering quality education, strengthening BRICS collaboration in the field of education.
  • Also exchange of students and scholars and teaching faculty among BRICS Member States held .
  • Members states are committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4)-Education 2030 which aims to Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life long learning opportunities for all that was set within The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The meeting reiterated support for the BRICS Network University (NU) to collaborate in the fields of education, research and innovation.
  • It also encouraged universities to participate in the BRICS University League.
  • BRICS member states also decided to increase cultural cooperation through language education and multilingualism to promote mutual understanding of the history and culture of BRICS member states.
  • Declaration also encouraged to expand the number of scholarship opportunities to students across BRICS Member States.

Source : NDTV

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

Indo-Thai joint military exercise

In News

A 15-day long joint military training exercise between the Indian and Thai army will begin from July 3 in Himachal Pradesh.

About exercise

  • The joint exercise between the two armies is an annual event.
  • The aim is to build and promote bilateral Army-to-Army relations and enhance inter-operability between the two armies
  • As part of the exercise the two armies will jointly plan and execute a series of drills for the neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in counter terrorism environment.
  • Approximately 50 troops from Royal Thailand Army and an equal number of Indian soldiers from the Northern Command will participate in the exercise.
  • The armies of India and Thailand are conducting the yearly joint training exercise named Ex Maitree 2017 from July 3 to July 17 at Bakloh in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The conduct of ‘Ex Maitree 2017’ would go a long way in enhancing defence cooperation between the two countries.

Source : Economic Times

GS II : International Relation

India and Israel sign 7 Agreements

India and Israel will safeguard each other’s strategic interests and cooperate to combat growing radicalisation and terrorism, besides concluding seven agreements in development and space sectors during the maiden visit by an Indian PM to Jerusalem.

Seven MoU’s Signed

  • MoU between the Department of Science & Technology, India and National Technological Innovation Authority, Israel for setting up of India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F).
  • MoU between the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation of India and the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources of the State of Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.
  • MoU between U.P. Jal Nigam, Government of Uttar Pradesh, of and the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources of the State of Israel on State Water Utility Reform in India.
  • India-Israel Development Cooperation – Three Year Work Program in Agriculture 2018-2020.
  • Plan of Cooperation Between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) regarding cooperation in Atomic Clocks.
  • MoU between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA)regarding cooperation in GEO-LEO Optical Link.
  • MoU between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) regarding cooperation in Electric Propulsion for Small Satellites.

Source : MEA

GS II : Bilateral relation

ADB, India ink pact for road revamp

In news

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $220 million loan agreement meant to improve connectivity, transport efficiency, and safety on the State highways of Rajasthan.

  • The loan is the first tranche of the $500 million Rajasthan State Highways Investment Program, approved by ADB Board in May this year,
  • That will upgrade about 2,000 km of State highways and major district roads to two-lane or intermediate-lane standards to meet road safety requirements.
  • The first tranche loan will improve about 1,000 km of State highways and major district roads.

Asian Development Bank

  • A regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the Ortigas Center located in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines.
  • ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
  • The ADB offers hard loans on commercial terms primarily to middle income countries in Asia and soft loans with lower interest rates to poorer countries in the region.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

US rolls out expedited entry for low-risk Indian travellers through Global Entry programme

In News

United States of America has started rolling out for Indian citizens its Global Entry programme which allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travellers. Navtej Sarna, Indian Ambassador to the US, became the first Indian national to enroll in the programme.

Global Entry programme

  • Under Global Entry programme Travellers must be pre-approved for the initiative.
  • As per the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website, all applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrolment.
  • With this intiative, India has become the 11th country whose citizens are eligible to enroll in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiative.
  • As per the initiative, once a traveller lands at one of the select airports, the programme members enter US through automatic kiosks, rather than queueing up to clear the immigration check by meeting an immigration officer.
  • At these select airports, the specified members proceed to the Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport, place their fingerprints on the scanner for verification and complete a customs declaration.
  • The Global Entry kiosk then issues the traveller a transaction receipt and directs him or her to the baggage claim and the exit.

Other Nations

Global Entry programme is available at 53 US airports and 15 pre-clearance locations. It is now available to US citizens, Green Card holders and nationals from Argentina, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, besides India. Canadian citizens and residents enrolled in NEXUS may also use the Global Entry kiosks. NEXUS programme allows pre-screened travellers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada.


Source : The Indian Express

GS II : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

 

India, China Stand-Off At Border

In News

China has accused Indian troops of “trespassing” its boundary and in a reaction suspended the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash in Tibet. The People’s Liberation Army has accused Indian troops of obstructing road construction on the Chinese side.

China at Sikkim the issue led to the cancellation of the Mansarovar Yatra pilgrimage

Doklam

Source : Google Map

through the Nathu-la route. In June China removed an old bunker of the Indian army at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan in Sikkim. The Indian army had refused to remove the structure after being asked to do so by China. China, on its part, has alleged that Indian soldiers crossed the boundary into China to interfere with the construction of a road.

Past to Present

  • September 1967: Chinese troops fired at Indian posts close to Nathu La and the Indian Army retaliated with full force causing casualties with China significantly higher. A ceasefire was declared later.
  • June 1986: The Indian Army launched exercise ”Chequerboard” after China amassed thousands of troops in the Thandrong pasture on the banks of the Somdurong Chu river. The situation was diffused diplomatically by August 1987.
  • November 2008: Chinese troops destroyed makeshift Indian Army bunkers at Doko La near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.
  • April 2013: Chinese troops intruded into Daulat Beg Oldi in Eastern Ladakh and set up camps in the Depsang Valley. These came ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s India visit.
  • August 2014: Chinese troops entered 25 to 30 km into the Indian territory in Burtse area in Ladakh and pitched their tents and the standoff continued for three weeks.
  • September 2014:  About 1,000  troops intruded 3 km inside Chumar in Eastern Ladakh. The incident lasted for a week and coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India.
  • March 2016: A platoon of chinese soldiers came about 5.5 km inside the Indian territory near Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh. Incident resolved in a few hours.
  • June 2017: China removed an old bunker of the Indian Army located at the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan in Sikkim after the Indian side refused to accede to its request to dismantle it.

China’s Stance

  • China’s assertion that Donglang which they called Doklam was part of Chinese territory since ancient times and it doesn’t belong to Bhutan.
  • China’s boundary with India at Sikkim was based on a 127-year-old treaty signed between the Qing empire and Great Britain – the Anglo-Chinese Convention of 1890.
  • Accused India of impinging on Bhutan’s sovereignty by attempting to fight its battles.
  • The suspension of the pilgrimage route was an emergency response to the situation. The pilgrimage route will reopen, it totally depends on whether the Indian side can correct its mistake in time.

Areas of Dispute

PLA-in-a-tug-of-war-over-Doklam-Plateau

 

 


Source : The Hindu, Thewire, ET

GS II : International Relation

India gives $100,000 to UN Tax Fund

In News

India has contributed $ 100,000 to a UN fund to help developing countries actively participate in the discussion of tax issue.

Becoming the first country

UN Trust Fund for International Cooperation in Tax Matters (the UN Tax Fund) received its first financial voluntary contribution from India. Voluntary contributions for the fund have been called for by the UN and the committee since its establishment in 2006. Call for contributions was also emphasised in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda adopted at the third International Conference on Financing for Development in 2015.

Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the UN Tax Trust Fund

  • The Addis Agenda provides a global framework to ensure the effective mobilization of resources at the national and international level for sustainable development.
  • Implementation of the Addis Agenda  supports the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • In Addis Ababa, UN Member States committed to work together to enhance the UN Tax Committee’s resources to strengthen its effectiveness and operational capacity.
  • The Addis Agenda also specifically called on the Member States to support the UN Tax Committee and its subsidiary bodies through the voluntary Trust Fund.
  • It is to supporting the increased participation of developing country experts at subcommittee meetings.

UN Tax Committee : Subsidiary body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC), has provided guidance on current issues such as double taxation treaties, transfer pricing (profit shifting) taxation of the extractive industries and taxation of services.


Source : Economic Times, UN

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India

India, Portugal sign 11 pacts

Why in News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks with his Portuguese counterpart on cooperation in areas like counter-terrorism, space, climate studies and start-ups.

Signed 11 bilateral agreements

  1. India-Portugal Space Alliance partnering with ISRO and Portuguese Foundation for Science & Technology (FCT)
  2. Protocol amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income
  3. MoU on Nano Technology
  4. MoU on Public Administration and Governance Reforms
  5. MoU on Cultural Cooperation
  6. MoU on Youth and Sports between
  7. MoU on Cooperation in the fields of Higher Education and Scientific Research
  8. MoU Between Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal, E.P.E. (Aicep Portugal Global – Trade & Investment Agency) and PIBHub – Portugal India Business Hub
  9. Memorandum of Understanding between Portugal India Business Hub & Reira Group/Goa Desk
  10. MoU on Biotechnology
  11. Memorandum of Understanding between Portugal India Business Hub & Indian Chamber of Commerce

Relation History

Relations between India and Portugal began amicably in 1947 after India’s independence and diplomatic relations were established in 1949. Bilateral ties however went into decline after 1950 over Portugal’s refusal to surrender its enclaves of Goa, Daman Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli on India’s west coast. By 1955, the two nations had cut off diplomatic relations, triggering a crisis which precipitated in the Indian annexation of Portuguese India in 1961. Portugal refused to recognise Indian sovereignty over the annexed territories until 1974 when, following the Carnation Revolution, the new government in Lisbon recognised Indian sovereignty with the signing of a treaty in New Delhi in December 1974, bilateral relations were restored.


Source : Ministry of External Affairs
GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or
            affecting India’s interests

India, Pakistan to become full SCO members at Astana summit

India and Pakistan’s admission as full members to the China backed Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be formalised at the political and security grouping’s summit in Kazakhstan.

India and Pakistan as the full members at the Astana summit on June 8-9 and expect the Astana summit will complete the admission procedures for the two countries.

Background

During the 2015 summit in Ufa, Russia, the SCO formally adopted a resolution starting the process to admit India and Pakistan into the organisation as full members. Both the countries signed a Memorandum of Obligations to join the organisation at last year’s summit in Tashkent.

Importance of Cooperation

  • The presence of China and India, the world’s most populous countries, would make SCO the organisation with the largest population coverage.
  • Improve their relations and inject new impetus to the development of the SCO.
  • The admission of India and Pakistan as full members would help improve their bilateral relations.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

  • The political and security grouping headquartered in Beijing was founded in 2001.
  • It comprises China Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as full members.17908469_401
  • It mainly aimed at military cooperation between the members and involves intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia.
  • Currently Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.
  • SCO has six dialogue partners, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

India, Spain sign 7 agreements

PM Modi on a six-day, four-nation tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France to boost India’s economic engagement with these nations and invite more investment.

India and Spain signed seven agreements

Signed seven agreements, including

  1. Transfer of sentenced persons
  2. Visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports
  3. Cooperation in organ transplantation
  4. Cyber security
  5. Renewable energy
  6. Civil aviation and
  7. India’s Foreign Service Institute and Diplomatic Academy of Spain

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

China evokes Panchsheel

China proposed five principles of peaceful co-existence or Panchsheel for advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI), and as a vehicle for achieving sustainable globalisation.

Key Facts

  • Friendship and cooperation with all countries in the world on the Belt and Road Initiative on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence.
  • 29 world leaders and representatives from countries across the continents took part the meet.
  • Belt and Road initiative should be an open one that will achieve both economic growth and balanced development.

India’s Stand

India boycott China’s Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in view of sovereignty concerns related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the initiative that is expected to figure prominently in the two-day meet. Objections related only to the CPEC traversing through Gilgit and Baltistan of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). India treats the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as its integral part.

China–Pakistan Economic Corridor

  • CPEC is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of: modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
  • It became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port.
  • CPEC will not only benefit China and Pakistan but will have positive impact on Iran, Afghanistan, India, Central Asian Republic, and the region.

The : Hindu

GS III : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

Arctic nations to meet amid drilling concerns

World’s eight Arctic nations are meeting in Alaska amid concerns about the future of the sensitive region. Recently United States President Donald Trump called for more oil drilling and development.

About Artic Council

  • Arctic Council is an advisory body that promotes cooperation among member nations and indigenous groups.
  • The main focus is on sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic.
  • It does not make policy or allocate resources, and its decisions must be unanimous.

Members of the Council

  • Eight member countries : Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.300px-ArcticCouncil.svg
  • Only states with territory in the Arctic can be members of the Council.
  • The Council also has permanent and ad hoc observer countries and permanent participants.
  • India has an observer status, Observers have no voting rights in the Council.