TINDIA CENTRAL ASIA DIALOGUE Why in news? 1st India-Central Asia Dialogue was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan and was co-chaired by the Minister of External Affairs of India.
Highlights of the summit The ministerial level summit saw the participation of External Affairs Ministers of Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. India also invited Central Asia Republics (CAR) to participate in the Chabahar Port project jointly undertaken by India and Iran to move Indian goods to landlocked Afghanistan . . India also proposed the creation of a Regional Development Group for better coordination on economic and policy issues. India also proposed a dialogue on air corridors with the countries of landlocked Central Asia. India already has opened air corridors for the transport of goods and perishables between India and several Afghan cities mainly to circumvent Pakistan that controls the overland trade.
India & Central Asia India was among the first countries to recognize the five Central Asian states. It established diplomatic relations with them after they gained independence in 1990s. India now considers the Central Asian countries as part of its 'extended and strategic neighbourhood . At present the five Central Asian republics account for trade of only about $2 billion with India. It is less as compared to about $50 billion with China that has made them a key to its Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) initiative.
Central Asia 400 km 400 miles RUSSIA Astana KAZAKHSTAN Almaty UZBEKISTAN CASPIAN SEA Bishkek KYRGYSTAN GEO Baku Tashke RMEN Samarkand TURKMENISTANTAJIKISTA CHINA abriz Mashad Tehran RAQ Kabul Herat IRAN AFGHANISTAN Isfahan Baghdad Yazd Islamabad PAKISTAN INDIA Shiraz Zahedan Delhi
Importance of central Asia Strategic Location: Geographically, the location of these countries makes them a bridge between different regions of Asia and between Europe and Asia. With the Chabahar Agreement with Iran in place, new trade routes have been opened between India & Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan. India's only foreign military airbase is in Farkhor (Tajikistan), which is operated by IAF and Tajik Air Force. CARs share borders with China, Afghanistan, Russia and Iran. Tajikistan is located in proximity to the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Enerey security: The countries of Central Asia are endowed with significant hydrocarbon and mineral resources and are close to India geographically. For example Kazakhstan is the largest producer of Uranium and has huge gas and oil reserves as well. Uzbekistan is an important regional producer of gold along with Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan has vast hydropower potential besides oil deposits, and Turkmenistan has the fourth largest gas reserves of the world. Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are also in the Caspian littoral, thereby promising to open the door to other energy-rich Caspian states. -
Security: The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan will have severe regional security implications. CARs face serious threat from illegal drug trade emanating from 'Golden Crescent' of opium production (Iran-PakAfghan) and are also victims of illegal arms trade. Instability in Central Asia can spill over to PoK. o Further, religious extremism, fundamentalism and terrorism continue to pose challenges to Central Asian societies as well as regional stability. Trade and Investment potential: The economic development of Central Asia, especially in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, has sparked a construction boom and development of sectors like IT, pharmaceuticals and tourism. India has expertise in these sectors and deeper cooperation will give a fresh impetus to trade relations with these countries. There is also a great demand for Indian pharmaceutical products in the region.
Chatfendes faced by India in terms of CAR Land locked region: It is land locked, which has hampered India's relation with central Asia. Poor connectivity has also contributed to the below-par trade between India and Central Asia. Further India does not share physical borders with any of the Central Asian states. This is a huge bottleneck in promoting and expanding economic, commercial, energy, tourist links etc with them. The old Silk Route was one option, but the security situation in Xinjiang, unresolved border conflicts with China and prolonged negotiations have compelled India to explore alternative routes to reach CARs. The unstable situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan's geo-strategic importance in the region has deprived India from the benefit of relations with Central Asia.
Chinese presence: Central Asia is part of Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) initiative. Moreover, the threat fostered by Islamic radicalization spilling over to Uighurs in Xinjiang province has led to China getting well entrenched in Central Asiarn security affairs, thereby impinging on India's interests indirectly. Radicalism and Extremism: Central Asia finds itself exposed and vulnerable to influences like Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Taliban, IUM, Hizb-ut-Tahrir etc.
Further region itself has its own domestic challenges such as "youth bulge" combined with limited economic opportunities; serious and worsening corruption; Drug trafficking; Managing succession in autocratic states without strong government or party institutions etc.
India's efforts to connect with the region Connect Central Asia Policy: Launched in 2012 it includes Strong political relations through the exchange of high-level visits and multilateral engagements Strategic and security cooperation through military training, regular intelligence sharing, counterterrorism coordination and close consultations on Afghanistan. Long term partnership in energy and natural resources Helping to provide a viable banking infrastructure in the region. Increase presence of Indian firms in CARs in construction and power sector Improve connectivity through INSTC, air services, people to people and cultural exchanges -
MOSCOW o KAZAKHSTAN TURKEYCASPIAN SEA ( mmmi BANDAR ABBAS AZERBAIJANBAND MUMBAI Indian Ocean
Russia Kazakhstan Uzbekistan Mongolia Kyrgyzstan Iran Tajikistan China Pakistan India
RKMENISTAN AFGHANISTAN KABUL IRAN PAKISTAN CHABAHAR PORT GWADAR I N DIA Saudi Arabia Oman Myanmar MUMBAI Yemen B a y 72 KM Benga l Distance between the 2 bahar & Gwadar ports
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India TAPI): It is the proposed natural gas pipeline that runs from Galkynysh field (Turkmenistan)- Herat- Kandahar Multan - Fazilika (Pak-India Border). Not only it will provide a reliable source of natural gas at competitive prices, but it will play a strategically crucial role for the peace and security of the region. Eurasian Economic Union (EEU): India is negotiating a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, which include Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Proqramme is also an effective instrument under which young professionals of these countries undergo training and human capacity development. .
100 miles 100 km Disputed border TURKMENISTAN TAJIKISTAN UZBE TAN Mary,Galkyny Gas Field IRAN AFGHANISTAN Jammu& Kashmi Herat Kabul Islamabad API pipeline PAKISTAN CHINA Kand QuettaMultanFazilka Nimruz Dera Ghazi Khan INDIA
Conclusion Both the regions have not made the optimum utilization of the available opportunities in diverse sectors. Strengthening of relations between India and Central Asia is to mutual benefit of all countries involved. Good relations with India will also provide an assured market to these countries for their energy, raw materials, oil and gas, uranium, minerals, hydro-electric power etc. The current political, strategic and economic scenario, both regionally and internationally, presents immense challenges but also potential for India and Central Asia to qualitatively enhance their engagement. Stronger relations between them will contribute to increased security and prosperity of these countries and the world. The existing India-Central Asia Dialogue should be upgraded qualitatively so that constant communication with important stakeholders in the region is maintained. . . . .
INDIA & SOUTH AFRICA Why in news? India and South Africa recently sealed a three-year strategic programme (2019-21).
Background . India's relations with South Africa date back several centuries. India was at the forefront of the international community in its support to the antiapartheid oomnett steons with the sartheia Government (in 1946). India's relations with South Africa were restored after a gap of over four decades with the opening of a Cultural Centre in Johannesburg in May 1993. Diplomatic and consular relations with South Africa were restored in November 1993.
Mutual Areas of Cooperation Trade and investments: The bilateral trade between both the nations is more than $10 billion already. With a view to encourage investments, the two countries signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) in 1998. . international forums: Both the countries are members of groupings such as BRICS, IBSA, IORA, G-20, etc. Both nations are committed to securing representation in an expanded UN Security Council to achieve a more representative UN Security Council Membership. Both are former British colonies and full member states of the Commonwealth of Nations as Commonwealth republics. .
Multilateral engagement over bilateral attention: India presently engages mostly on multilateral level, such as with the African Union, thus the downstream delivery of its development projects occurs through these channels, thereby taking away the credit it deserves. Thus, bilateral engagement should be increased to highlight India's efforts Racial Discrimination: The South African nationals do not feel safe and accepted in India due to episodes of racial discrimination and even violence and crimes against them. Such trend is detrimental to people-people engagement between the two countries.
Further Scope of Cooperation Investments: Complementary areas should be explored; for instance, in South Africa, foreign investors should look at mature sectors such as automotive components, textiles, clothing, and footwear. Key untapped sectors include health, nutrition, and wellness. In India, South Africa should get involved in biotechnology (a key strength of South African manufacturers) as the sector now permits 100 percent FDI through the automatic route. Skill development should continue to receive high attention, as there is immense scope in South Africa considering the huge youth population. .
Way Forward The countries should hold at least one summit meeting every year in order to review progress and address key issues pertaining to their bilateral, regional and global agenda. India's efforts to encourage interaction with African nations through forums such as India-Africa Strategic Dialogue, India Africa Forum summit are desirable, and they should be maintained. . The present route of multilateral involvement is not yielding expected output for India. More emphasis should be given to bilateral engagement as it will tilt the optics on India's favour. With the same amount of efforts, India will get enhanced recognition and goodwill.
Gilgit-Baltistan Goja HunzaPassu Nagar PR CHINA Ghizer ussain Gilgit Baltistan Shigar Khyber 35 Diamir Ghanche ar Astor Azad- Kharmang 100 km awar Islamabad Rawalpindi AFGHANISTAN al Areas Lahore Punjab 30 PAKISTA N Baluchistan INDIA Sindh Karachi 25 Arabian 200 km 65 70 75
Gilgit Baltistar Pakistan INDIA
Current Status . It has an elected Assembly and a Council headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. This Council wields all powers, and controls the resources and revenues from the region. GB do not find any mention in the Pakistani constitution: it is neither independent, nor does it have provincial status. It was treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan till now .
Why is this region important? Strategic Location: GB lies at the intersection of the Indian Subcontinent, Central Asia and China. Large Territory: The territory of GB is more than five times larger than Azad Kashmir. It consists of two ethnogeographically distinct territories: Baltistan, which was part of Ladakh, and Gilgit. Water and eneray Security: GB is also significant due to its water and energy resources. Before entering Pakistan, the Indus River passes through GB. Important glaciers, including the bitterly-contested Siachen Glacier are also located in GB. The Hydro-electric potential of the Indus river makes it vital for energy security as well.
India's concerns in the regiorn Kashmir Issue: India has objected to the possible merger of GB with Pakistan as it will fundamentally alter the nature of the so called Kashmir dispute due to GB being part of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir. Chinese Interference: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is passing through Gilgit Baltistan making India more reluctant to join the multinational transport and infrastructure corridor projects sponsored by China.
Indian initiatives in Space Diplomacy India has also allowed SAARC countries to use its India has also collaborated with other countries, India collaborated with NASA during its regional positioning system NAVIC. example- NISAR. Chandrayan Mission which found water on the moon Data from Indian satellites is frequently shared with friendly countries for astronomical research which furthers goodwill and enhances relations. The ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) operates three international stations in Brunei, Indonesia and Mauritius. The ISRO also established the India-Myanmar Friendship Centre for Remote Sensing in 2001 South Asia Satellite or GSAT-9 is a Geostationary Communication satellite launched by ISRO to provide various communication applications over South Asian countries. Some other applications include: Tele-medicine, Disaster Management, Banking, e-governance etc.
Concerns associated with space diplomacy Lack of legal aqreements: Space is one of the areas where few or no International treaties exist for its peaceful use. United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs works to promote peaceful use of outer space but there are no binding agreements like NPT or CTBT to prevent weaponization of space. .Perpetuates Global inequality between Nations: Because only a few nations have space technology, it makes other underdeveloped and developing nations dependent on developed nations to make use of space.
Space-weaponization: Weaponization of space may become a new tool in the hands of nations in the future as a part of their space diplomacy. The space-weapons could be hundred times more lethal than current weapons and have a potential to wipe-out humanity.
About Venezuela crisis Hyperinflation (extremely fast or out of control inflation) is the biggest problem faced by Venezuela. The economic crisis has also led to food shortage and hit the public health system, making medicine, equipment inaccessible to its people. The current crisis is often blamed on previous regimes' subsidies, large-scale nationalisation of companies and mismanagement of finances, compounded by Maduro's own follies .
Impact of Crisis Increased Oil Prices: Venezuela being home to the world's largest oil reserves is expected to complicate the global oil supply mix and perhaps even push up oil prices. - India being the world's third largest oil importer, may get affected by inflation as well as trade deficit. However, the new sanctions by US may force Venezuela to send more crude to China, India or other Asian countries. This may benefit Indian refineries in the short-term as more competitive pricing would be available to them.