Category: Bi-Lateral Relations


Why in News?

  • The COVID-19 pandemic that began as a global health crisis, brought in its fold certain geographical trend lines in turn defining the contours of the Emerging Global Order.


Trend Line One: Asia ascending, U.S. Waning:

    • The trend which became clear in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis is the rise of Asia. Asian countries have also demonstrated greater agility in tackling the pandemic compared to the United States and Europe.
    • This is not limited to China but a number of other Asian states have shown greater responsiveness and more effective state capacity.
    • Consequently, Asian economies will recover faster than those in the West.
  • Another trend is the retreat of the U.S. after a century of being in the forefront of shaping the global order.
  • The U.S.A. played a decisive role right from the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations after World War I or the creation of the United Nations and Bretton Woods institutions after World War II, to leadership of the western world during the Cold War.
  • It had also been a leader in moulding global responses to threats posed by terrorism or proliferation or climate change.
  • Interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have fatigued the USA on part of its resources.
  • Coupled with America first and during the current crisis, the USA’s efforts at cornering supplies of scarce medical equipment and medicines and acquiring biotech companies engaged in research and development in allied states, show that this may mean America alone.
  • The U.S. still remains the largest economy and the largest military power but has lost the will and ability to lead.

Trend Line Two: Intra-European fission:

  • The Fission is Mainly Manifested Through
    • European Union’s continuing preoccupation with internal challenges vis-à-vis inclusion of East European states.
    • Impact of the financial crisis among the Eurozone members, ongoing Brexit negotiations.
    • Varying threat perceptions vary between old Europe and new Europe making it increasingly difficult to reach agreement on political matters e:g relations with Russia and China.
  • In addition to it, there is the North-South divide within the Eurozone. It initially showed up when austerity measures were imposed on Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal a decade ago by the European Central Bank, persuaded by the fiscally conservative Austria, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • Further damage was done when Italy was denied medical equipment by its EU neighbours who introduced export controls.
  • The Schengen visa or free-border movement has already become a victim of the Pandemic.

Trend Line Three: Rising China:

  • Continuing in the line is the emergence of a stronger and more assertive China.
  • Chinese assertiveness has raised concerns, first in its neighbourhood, and now in the U.S. that feels betrayed because it assisted China’s rise in the hope that an economically integrated China would become politically more open.
  • In recent years, the U.S.-China relationship moved from cooperation to competition; and now with trade and technology wars, it is moving steadily to confrontation.
  • The Belt and Road Initiative seeks to connect China to Eurasia and Africa through both maritime and land routes by investing trillions of dollars in infrastructure building as a kind of pre-emptive move against any U.S. attempts at containment.

Trend Line Four: Fading Organisations:

  • In the wake of COVID-19, international and multilateral bodies are nowhere on the scene as a global response.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has become a victim of politics.
  • Its early endorsement of the Chinese efforts has put it on the defensive as the U.S. blames the outbreak on a Chinese Biotech Lab.
  • The UN Security Council (UNSC), the G-7 and the G-20 are paralysed when the world Faces the worst recession since 1929.
  • In real terms, these institutions were always subjected to big power politics.
  • During the Cold War, U.S.-Soviet rivalry blocked the UNSC on many sensitive issues and now with major power rivalry returning, finds itself paralysed again. Agencies such as WHO have lost autonomy over decades on account of shrinking fiscal budgets, forcing them to increasingly rely on voluntary contributions sourced largely from western countries and foundations.
  • The absence of a multilateral response today highlights the long-felt need for reform of these bodies but this calls for collective global leadership.

Trend Line Five: The Energy Politics:

  • The surging demand in renewables and green technologies on account of climate change concerns, and the U.S. emerging as a major energy producer were fundamentally altering the energy markets.
  • Now, a looming economic recession and depressed oil prices will exacerbate internal tensions in West Asian countries which are solely dependent on oil revenues.
  • Long-standing rivalries in the region were common but they can now create political instability in countries where regime structures are fragile.

Prospects for India:

  • India has been making a Point for Some time Now Regarding reform of Global Institutions.
  • Presently, the world seems to be at an inflection point and it has come at a time when India can project its capabilities, for instance as the pharmacy of the world.
  • India senses a leadership vacuum in the covid-19-driven world.
  • The current China-US dynamic has opened up space for middle powers like India to show they can provide some kind of stability.
  • It is likely to give rise to quadrilateral and trilateral and other arrangements with countries, such as India, Japan and Australia.

Outreach Efforts by India:

  • Phone calls to leaders across continents, virtual summits with regional and other multilateral groupings, and supplying medicines to more than 120 countries are all part of India’s efforts to secure a place for itself in the post Covid-19 World.
  • The PM of India has spoken to more than 40 leaders with foreign ministers interacting with an equal number of his counterparts.
  • The PM of India has also addressed South Asian heads of government, leaders of G20 countries and a meeting of non-aligned movement conferences via video-link.


Why in News?

  • S. Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation in his visit to India, has suggested that India should directly talk to Taliban for a sustained peace in Afghanistan. This is the first time the USA has publicly suggested India to talk to the Taliban directly.


  • Earlier, the Indian government had made it clear that India would not engage the Taliban directly, and had not changed its position on the issue.
  • Recently, India was not included in a UN-coordinated “6+2+1” meeting of Afghanistan, its neighbours and U.S. and Russia recently, an exclusion New Delhi is understood to have protested. “6+2+1” group includes six neighbouring countries of Afghanistan: China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; global players the United States and Russia, and Afghanistan itself.
  • The reason given for keeping India out of regional discussions on Afghanistan was that it holds no “boundary” with Afghanistan; but in fact it is because New Delhi has never announced its support for the U.S.-Taliban peace process.
  • Objectives of the Trip:According to the U.S. State department, the trip is meant to build support for the full implementation of the US-Taliban agreement, which has been derailed by differences between the Afghan government and the Taliban over the release of prisoners.
  • Part of the Confidence Building Measures leading to intra-Afghan negotiations, is that both the Taliban and the Afghan government have to release prisoners on both sides.
  • Secondly that there must be a reduction in violence compared to the period before the agreement was signed.
  • Thirdly, that in order to get lasting peace and bring the long war in Afghanistan to an end, the door to negotiations should be opened for a political roadmap and a permanent comprehensive ceasefire.
  • International support for peace in Afghanistan is important and Indian support in particular was the focus of the Delhi trip.
  • His next stop to Islamabad is also expected to stress the need for a ceasefire, which the Taliban has rejected, and to push for support in kick-starting intra-Afghan talks, which have already missed the recent deadline, set in the U.S.-Taliban February agreement, by two months.

USA-Taliban Pact:

  • Recently, the US and Taliban signed an agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan, which will enable the US and NATO to withdraw troops in the next 14 months.
  • The key elements of the USA-Taliban pact: Withdrawal of troops: The US will draw down its troops in 135 days and the NATO or coalition troop numbers will also be brought down. And all troops will be out within 14 months (all would include non-diplomatic civilian personnel).
  • What Taliban Committed:The main counter-terrorism commitment by the Taliban is that Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.
  • Removal of Sanctions:UN sanctions on Taliban leaders to be removed by three months and US sanctions by August.
  • On Prisoner’s Release:According to the agreements, 5,000 Taliban prisoners will be released by March 2020, the first day of intra-Afghan negotiations, and the remainder in another three months. A possible trouble spot because the US-Taliban agreement and the joint declaration differ.
  • On Ceasefire:The agreement states ceasefire will be simply an item on the agenda when intra-Afghan talks start, and indicates actual ceasefire will come with the completion of an Afghan political agreement.

Challenges for the Pact:

  • Terms Still Nebulous:The actual terms of the peace deal are yet to be negotiated between the Taliban and the Afghan side, facilitated by the U.S.
  • Afghan Government Completely Sidelined: The Afghan government has been completely sidelined during the talks between the US and Taliban.
  • Future of the deal depends on the Taliban: The future for the people of Afghanistan is uncertain, and will depend on how the Taliban honours its commitments and whether it goes back to the medieval practices of its 1996-2001 regime.
  • Afghan Government Publicly Disagrees on terms of Deal:Just after the agreement, Afghanistan’s president said that he will not free thousands of Taliban prisoners ahead of all-Afghan power-sharing talks.
  • Agreement on Ceasefire another Potential Trouble Spot:As the convergence between all stakeholders is difficult to achieve. India-Pakistan tussle: India and Pakistan are not talking to each other, is an impediment to the process in Afghanistan. For reconciliation in Afghanistan, support from Pakistan, India and the international community is very important

How India Influenced the Afghan Peace Process?

  • At the Bonn agreement, India ensured that Northern Alliance leaders came to a consensus to accept Hamid Karzai as the Chairman of the interim arrangement that replaced the Taliban regime.
  • In 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Afghanistan President Karzai signed the historic Strategic Partnership Agreement, which was Afghanistan’s first such agreement with any country.
  • India’s Goodwill:The building blocks of that goodwill are India’s assistance in infrastructure projects, health care, education, trade and food security, and also in the liberal access to Afghans to study, train and work in India.
  • Future possible role of India:Afghan officials have hinted that they are speaking to the UN, U.S. and others about a broader “6+4” formation for regional talks on Afghanistan soon, which would include India.


Why in News?

  • The Ministry of External Affairs issued a “strong protest” over an order by the Pakistan Supreme Court that permits to hold elections in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir:

  • Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is that part of UT Jammu and Kashmir which was invaded by Pakistan in 1947.
    • PoK has a population of over 40 lakhs and is divided into 10 districts.
    • The capital of PoK is Muzaffarabad, a town located in the valley of the Jhelum river and its tributary Neelum (which Indians call Kishanganga) to the west and slightly north of Srinagar.
    • In 1963, through an agreement, Pakistan gave over 5,000 sq km of J&K land to China in the Shaksgam area, in northern Kashmir, beyond the Karakoram.
    • Pakistan occupied Kashmir is divided into two parts:
    • Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK): attached to the western part of Indian Kashmir.
    • Gilgit-Baltistan (referred to as the ‘Northern Areas’ till 2009)

Gilgit-Baltistan (GB):

  • Gilgit-Baltistan is a hilly region to the north of PoK and east of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • It is over five times the size of PoK. However, it is sparsely populated, with just under 20 lakh people.
  • GB is divided into three administrative divisions and 10 districts.

Significance of GB:

  • The GB region is strategically important for many reasons as it is a source of vast glaciers feeding the Indus River system that meets Pakistan’s water needs.
  • It is a gateway for China to the Indian Ocean through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
  • It also shares borders with several countries – the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province provinces (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) in Pakistan to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan in the north-west and Xinjiang province of China to the North.


  • The British sold Gilgit-Baltistan, along with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, to the Dogra ruler of Jammu, Gulab Singh, after defeating the Sikh army in 1846.
    • However, Britishers retained control over the area through a lease of 20 years from the Maharaja to snoop on Russia.
    • Raja Hari Singh acceded the entire state of Kashmir including GB to independent India in 1947.
    • However, Pakistan, along with the Britishers, illegally acceded the GB to Pakistan.
    • Pakistan got the possession but had no legality.

Representation of People:

  • The GB people want Constitutional Status of a province but accession to Pakistan of this disputed territory is not legally tenable hence people of GB have historically been deprived of participation in representative institutions.
  • The ‘Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order of 2009’ for the first time established a Representative Government and Legislature but neither allowed constitutionally guaranteed autonomy like other provinces.
  • The GB Legislative Assembly adopted resolutions demanding status of a province till the settlement of the Kashmir Dispute.
  • The ‘Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018’ vested powers with the Prime Minister to legislate on 68 subjects that reduced the local council to an advisory body.
  • The order was challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which in January, 2019 provided them with provisional representation in the Parliament, till the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

Administrative status in Gilgit-Baltistan:

  • Though both PoK and GB are ruled directly from Islamabad, neither is officially listed as the territory of Pakistan, which has just four provinces: Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh.PoK and GB are both autonomous territories because incorporating these areas into its Pakistani map would damage Pakistan’s international position in the United Nations.
  • For India as per the resolution passed by Parliament in 1994, PoK and GB are both part of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession to India in 1947.


Why in News?

  • The US has approved a military sale to India of 16 MK 54 all round up lightweight torpedoes and ten AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles.


  • In total two deals have been made.
  • A possible Foreign Military Sale to India of 16 MK 54 all round up lightweight torpedoes and related equipment at an estimated cost of $63 million.
  • In addition, in another deal, the US approved the possible sale to India of ten AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles and related equipment at an estimated cost of $92 million. The principal contractor for the first deal is Raytheon Integrated Defense System based in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, while Boeing is the principal contractor for the equipment in the second deal.
  • India plans to use the equipment requested in both the deals on the Indian Navy’s Boeing P-8I maritime aircraft.

MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo:

  • The MK 54 lightweight torpedo is known as the Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo (LHT).
  • It weighs around 608 pounds, while its warhead weighs around 96.8 pounds and is highly explosive.
  • The primary use of this equipment is for offensive purposes when deployed by antisubmarine warfare aircraft and helicopters, and for defensive purposes when deployed by ships and against fast, deep-diving nuclear submarines and slow-moving, quiet, diesel electric submarines.

AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Air-Launched Missiles:

  • The Harpoon missile system will be integrated into the P-8I aircraft to conduct anti-surface warfare missions in defence of critical sea lanes.
  • It uses GPS-aided inertial navigation to hit the designated target.
  • Its warhead weighs over 500 pounds and is capable of delivering lethal firepower against targets, including land-based targets, coastal defence sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft and industrial or port facilities.

P-8I Aircraft:

  • Boeing’s P-8s are designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
  • The P-8s India version is called the P-8I, and helps the Indian Navy carry out important maritime operations.
  • According to Boeing, the aircraft can surpass 25,000 flight hours, and gives the Navy a significant edge in the strategically important Indian Ocean.
  • India currently has eight of these aircraft and is scheduled to receive four more by 2022


Why in News?

  • India has supplied 6.2 tonnes of essential medicines to Maldives, under Operation named “Sanjeevani” as assistance in the fight against COVID 19.

Key Points:

  • The medicines include influenza vaccines, antiviral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir among others as well as consumables such as catheters, nebulisers, urine bags and infant feeding tubes.
  • It has to be noted that Lopinavir and ritonavir have been used to treat patients with COVID-19 in some countries.
  • The medicines were delivered by an Hercules C-130J-30 aircraft of Indian Air Force.
  • India has also dispatched a 14-member Army medical team to Maldives to set up a viral testing lab there and gifted 5.5 tonne of essential medicines.

Relations between the Two Countries:

  • Historical Aspect:
  • India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links.
  • India was among the first to recognize Maldives after its independence in 1965 and later established its mission at Male in 1972.
  • Defence:
  • ‘Ekuverin’ is a joint military exercise between India and Maldives.
  • India provides the largest number of training opportunities for Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF), meeting around 70% of their Defence Training Requirements.
  • Disaster Management:
  • The Government of India has provided large-scale assistance to Maldives in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and during the 2014 Male water crisis.
  • Trade and Tourism:
  • India is Maldives’ 4th largest trade partner after UAE, China and Singapore. In 2018, India was the 5th largest source of tourist arrivals in Maldives.
  • The Maldivian economy is heavily dependent on its tourism sector, which is the major source of foreign exchange earnings and Government Revenue.

India’s Assistance given to Maldives Previously:

  • Operation Cactus: The Indian Armed Forces have helped the government of Maldives in the neutralization of the coup attempt. India has helped Maldives after the tsunami.
  • ‘Operation Neer’: India supplied drinking water to Maldives to deal with the drinking Water Crisis.
  • The Two Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) given by India to the Maldivian armed forces have been used in saving Maldivian lives.


Why in News?

  • Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu on his visit to Sierra Leone has signed 6 agreements with Mr Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

MoUs signed :

  • This is the first-ever visit of an Indian Vice President to the African Nation, Sierra Leone.
  • The major agreements signed are:
    • India will establish a High Commission in Sierra Leone.
    • Both the countries have agreed to enhance cooperation in Information Technology, infrastructure development, agriculture, food processing and capacity building.
    • Both decided to build on the existing cooperation at UNSC (UN Security Council).
    • India announced a Line of Credit of $ 30 million by signing an agreement with the EXIM bank for Irrigation development in Tomabum for rice production.
    • India has extended e-Visa facility to Sierra Leone nationals for ease of mobility.
  • India was among the first countries to contribute to the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) with the deployment of the 4000 strong Indian Military contingents.
  • India has so far provided the developmental assistance of about $ 217.5 million to Sierra Leone for various sectors including water resources, agriculture, energy and telecommunication.


Why in News?

  • The President of Mongolia, H.E. Mr. Khaltmaagiin Battulga, is on a visit to India from 19 to 23 September 2019.

List of MoUs/Documents signed Between India and Mongolia during the State Visit of President of Mongolia to India:

On Space Co-operation:

    • India and Mongolia signed MoUs on space cooperation which would allow India to support Mongolia in resource management and satellite communication.

Cultural Exchange Protocol:

    • To promote cooperation and cultural exchanges in the field of music, dance, theater, arts, library, museums, etc.

MoU in the field of Disaster Management:

    • To promote co-operation in the field of space exploration for peaceful and civilian purposes.
  • MoU was signed between Dept of Space (India) and Communications and Information Technology Authority (Mongolia).
  • Comprehensive Work Plan between Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (India) and Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry (Mongolia):
  • In 2015, India and Mongolia had signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of Animal Health and Dairy.
  • The Work Plan lays out a series of activities to intensify cooperation in this sector.


On UNSC Reforms:

    • Both the sides reiterated support for the on-going reforms of the United Nations and its principal organs with a view to making the institution more democratic, representative, transparent and efficient.
    • They emphasized the importance of an early reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), in permanent and non-permanent membership categories, so that it reflects the current realities and functions in an accountable, representative and effective manner.The Mongolian side reiterated its support to India’s candidature for permanent membership of the UNSC.
    • Both sides also reaffirmed their reciprocal support for their respective bids for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for the terms 2021-2022 and 2023-2024 respectively.

On cross Border Terrorism:

    • Recognising that extremism and terrorism posed a grave threat to entire humanity, both sides reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism.
    • They reiterated their commitment to working together in this regard, including the finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

On Cyber Security:

    • India reaffirmed its support for capacity building and infrastructure development in the field of cyber security in Mongolia.

Line of Credit:

    • Mongolia appreciated significant progress made in the implementation of the ‘Mongol Refinery Project’ under a Government of India (GoI) Line of Credit (LoC) of US$ 1 billion.
    • India has also approved a request from the Government of Mongolia to extend an additional LOC of US $236 million for the project, taking the Government of India’s total commitment for the project to US$ 1.236 billion.


    • The Mongolian side announced a “visa on arrival” scheme arrangement for Indian short-term visitors to encourage mutual tourism.


Why in News?

  • In continuation of the Indian Navy”s overseas deployment to Africa, Europe and Russia, INS Tarkash made a port call at the Walvis Bay in Namibia on Sunday for a three-day visit.


  • The port call by INS Tarkash demonstrates India”s warm ties with Namibia and its commitment to enhance operational reach, maritime security and its solidarity with friendly nations.
  • INS Tarkash commanded by Captain Sathish Vasudev, is a state-of-the-art warship equipped with a versatile range of weapons and sensors.
  • “Professional interactions are planned with the Namibian Navy towards further enhancing co-operation between the two forces. In addition, social engagements, exchange visit of ships, sports event and sharing of best practices are also organised.

Significance of Navy Ships on Bilateral ties:

  • Indian Navy ships are regularly deployed as part of Indian Navy’s mission of building ‘bridges of friendship’ and strengthening international cooperation with friendly countries as well as to address maritime concerns across the globe.
  • The current visit seeks to accentuate India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries and, in particular, to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and Namibia.
  • India and Namibia have enjoyed warm and friendly bilateral relations sharing common values of democracy, development and secularism.
  • A number of bilateral arrangements for co-operation and military exchange exist between the two countries.
  • As part of its defence cooperation, India, over the years, has extended training to a large number of Namibian military officers in various military institutions.


Why in News?

  • The sixth India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) came to a conclusion with both sides agreeing that the SED has emerged as a crucial mechanism to facilitate bilateral trade and investment flows and enhance economic cooperation between the two sides.


  • The SED was set up in the year 2010 between the erstwhile Planning Commission of India and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China
  • The SED has since then served as an effective mechanism for enhancing bilateral practical cooperation.
  • NITI Aayog after its formation has taken the Dialogue forward giving it a greater momentum.
  • Under the aegis of the SED, senior representatives from both sides come together to constructively deliberate and share individual best practices and identify sector-specific opportunities for enabling ease of doing business and facilitating trade and investment.

Mutual Agreements:

Policy Coordination:

  • The two sides undertook in-depth discussions reviewing trade and investment climates in order to mutually identify complementarities and harness synergies to this effect future engagement.

Working Group on Infrastructure:

  • The two sides noted the significant progress made in the feasibility study on Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore railway upgradation project and personal training of Indian senior railway management staff in China, both of which have been completed.
  • The two sides agreed to identify new projects for cooperation as well as support enterprises to expand cooperation in the transport sector.

Working Group on High-Tech:

  • The two sides assessed the achievements made since the 5th SED and exchanged views on regulatory procedures of ease of doing business, development of artificial intelligence, high-tech manufacturing, and next-generation mobile communications of both countries.

Working Group on Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection:

  • The two sides discussed and reviewed the progress made in the fields of water management, waste management, construction & demolition waste and resource conservation.

Working Group on Energy:

  • Both countries identified future areas of collaboration and resolved to work on Renewable Energy space, Clean coal technology sector, Smart Grid & Grid integration and Smart meters & E-mobility sectors.

Working Group on Pharmaceuticals:

  • It was also decided that both sides should promote pragmatic cooperation, strengthen complementary advantages in pharmaceutical industry and explore cooperation for promoting Indian generic drugs and Chinese APIs.


Why in News?

  • There has been a huge increase in Chinese deep-sea fishing trawlers in the southern Indian Ocean far from the Chinese coast which has raised concerns in the government and the security establishment.


  • In the last four years, on an average at least 500 Chinese trawlers were present in the region and around 32,250 incidents per year were recorded.
  • The trawlers were, however, not in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but beyond.
  • This includes trawlers from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • There were 1,100 occurrences near Somalia and 1,500 occurrences near the Coast of Oman.
  • Occurrences are recordings of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) aboard trawlers and ships recorded when they are activated.
  • A trawler can be recorded multiple times based on its AIS signature.
  • The maritime movements in the region are tracked at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurugram, which is the single-point centre interlinking all the coastal radar chains and other inputs along the coastline.
  • The AIS information comprises name, MMSI number, position, course, speed, last port visited, destination and so on.
  • This information can be picked up through various AIS sensors including coastal AIS chains and satellite-based receivers.
  • Chinese trawlers have institutional backing and have processing facilities with them which are sold in the vicinity.
  • While India has good inland fishing, the ocean fishing capacity is way below capacity.
  • There have been recommendations for the need to boost domestic deep-sea fishing.

Way Forward:

  • To address the issue, the National Maritime Domain Awareness initiative aims to integrate fishing, ports, customs so that the database is available to everyone.
  • Currently, the States have their databases. As part of this evolving mechanism, the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security is scheduled to meet to discuss the implementation.
  • There has been a national effort to install AIS systems on ships under 20m for which a pilot study has been carried out.
  • AIS works through satellite and the ISRO has already delivered 1000 transponders for trails in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Exclusive Economic Zone:

  • An Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ is a zone in the sea approved by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • Over this zone, a nation-state has exclusive special rights for exploring and using the marine resources.
  • This right is also extended to the production of energy from wind and water.
  • It extends from the baseline to two hundred nautical miles from the coast of the concerned country.
  • In colloquial practice, the term can also contain the continental shelf.
  • Generally, a state’s exclusive right extends up to 200 nautical miles but there are exceptions to this rule such as whenever exclusive economic zones overlap, i.e., the baselines of the state coasts are under 400 nautical miles apart.
  • The continental shelf or the territorial sea over 200 nautical miles is not included in this term.
  • In a territorial sea, the state has complete sovereignty or authority over it.
  • But in case of EEZ, a “sovereign right” is conferred to the state’s rights below sea waters. The surface waters are international waters.


Why in News?

  • Federal Aviation Minister of Pakistan denied the use of Pakistani airspace to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind for his flight to Iceland.


  • The reason being stated behind the denial is India’s continued aggression in the Kashmir issue and oppression against the Kashmiri people.
  • The Pakistani Minister said that India continued to flout international laws and was least bothered about its conduct in Kashmir.
  • Pakistan is also considering not to allow any of the Indian airlines to use their airspace.

India’s Response:

  • The spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs said that India regret the decision of the Pakistan government to deny over flight clearance for a VVIP special flight, which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country.
  • The spokesperson also called on Pakistan to recognise the futility of such unilateral actions.


  • After the Balakot airstrikes, India and Pakistan had closed their respective airspaces to each other. Pakistan kept the ban in place for nearly five months.
  • After the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, Pakistan had partially shut its airspace to India.
  • However, Pakistan allowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use its airspace for his visit to France in August 2019 as a goodwill gesture.


Why in News?

  • In the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the ‘Act Far East’ policy to boost India’s engagement with the Russian region, at the plenary session of the Fifth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).


  • PM Narendra Modi was in Russia as the chief guest of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum.
  • It is an international forum held each year in Vladivostok, Russia, for the purpose of encouraging foreign investment in the Russian Far East.
  • Modi is the first Indian prime minister to visit to the Russian Far East Region.


  • India concluded around 50 agreements worth $5 billion at the EEF-2019.
  • PM announced a $1 billion line of credit for the development of the resource-rich region.
  • Modi appreciated Mr. Putin’s vision for the welfare for Russia’s Far East, saying the President had opened up investment opportunities for India in the region.
  • India’s connection to Russia’s Far East go back a long way. Indian firms have invested over $7 billion in taking stake in Russian oil and gas fields.
  • India’s largest state-owned companies, as well as private business conglomerates, have been investing in the Far East, which includes ONGC’s investments in oil and gas projects, the development of coal and gold deposits by Tata Power and Sun Group, diamond polishing factories set up recently by KGK group and M Suresh, among others.
  • India ventured into Russia when its flagship overseas firm ONGC Videsh in 2001 acquired a 20 per cent stake in Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field in Far East Russia.
  • OVL later bought Imperial Energy, which has fields in Siberia, as also stakes in Vankor oilfield in eastern Siberia.
  • IOC and its partners have picked up 29.9 per cent stake in a separate Taas-Yuryakh oilfield in East Siberia.
  • Russian oil firm Rosneft in 2017 bought Essar Oil, which operates in Vadinar oil refinery in Gujarat and some 5,500 petrol pumps, for USD 12.9 billion.

Why India is so interested in Russian Far East?

  • This is a region situated in the cold Siberian climate but more significantly, it shares borders with China, Mongolia, North Korea and Japan (maritime).
  • On its own, it could be the eight largest – just behind India – in terms of area, and fourth least densely populated country.
  • Both China and the US have been competing to have an upper hand in this region.
  • Realising its geostrategic significance, India opened a consulate in Vladivostok in 1992.
  • India was the first country to have a resident consulate in Vladivostok then.
  • An understanding for Vladivostok-Chennai sea link was reached in 2018 when late Sushma Swaraj visited Russia as foreign minister.
  • This Vladivostok-Chennai sea link is somewhat a counter to China’s Maritime Silk Route (MSR) plan as part of One Belt One Road project. China’s ambitious MSR plan is about establishing and hence directly controlling Asia-Africa sea route.
  • Vladivostok-Chennai shipping link is likely to pass through or very close to the South China Sea, which China has turned into an international geostrategic hotspot by claiming exclusive control over the resource-rich maritime zone in the Pacific Ocean. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the sea.
  • There is an alternate possibility as well that Vladivostok-Chennai link would become an extension of existing India-Japan Pacific to Indian Ocean Corridor, which China considers as a challenge to its maritime OBOR plan in the region.
  • Russian Far East is a resource rich region in a hostile climate. It is rich in oil, natural gas, timber, gold and diamond among other resources. India requires all of them.
  • A busy Vladivostok-Chennai link means India strengthening its checks and balances equation with China.



Why in News?

  • During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vladivostok this week, a Memorandum of Intent was signed to open a full-fledged maritime route between Russia’s eastern port city and Chennai on India’s eastern seaboard.
  • “Opening of this route between Chennai and Vladivostok assumes significance because it ensures there will be connectivity between the two major ports which will give impetus to the cooperation between India and the Russian Far East,” PTI quoted Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale as saying.


  • The word Vladivostok in Russian language means ‘Ruler of the East’, it is located on the Golden Horn Bay north of North Korea and a short distance from Russia’s border with China.
  • It is the largest port on Russia’s Pacific coast, and home to the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy. It is the eastern railhead of the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway, which connects the far east of Russia to the capital Moscow, and further west to the countries of Europe.
  • At Vladivostok’s massive port, shipping and commercial fishing are the main commercial activities. Automobiles are a major item of import at the port, from where they are often transported further inland.

Sea Route to Chennai:

  • An ocean liner travelling from Vladivostok to Chennai would sail southward on the Sea of Japan past the Korean peninsula, Taiwan and the Philippines in the South China Sea, past Singapore and through the Strait of Malacca, to emerge into the Bay of Bengal and then cut across through the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to Chennai.

Time and Distance:

  • This sea route covers a distance of approximately 5,600 nautical miles, or about 10,300 km. A large container ship travelling at the normal cruising speed of 20-25 knots, or 37-46 km/hour, should be able to cover the distance in 10-12 days.
  • At suboptimal “slow steaming” speeds of 18-20 knots (33-37 km/hour), at which long-distance vessels sometimes travel to in order to save fuel, it might take slightly longer — 12-13 days.

Trade and Strategy:

  • India is building nuclear power plants with Russia’s collaboration in Kudankulam on the sea coast in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district. The opening of a sea route is likely to help in the project.
  • Even otherwise, a vibrant sea route will help in the upscaling of trade relations between the two nations.
  • It will also increase India’s presence in the Indo-Pacific, and especially the South China Sea, a deeply contested patch of the ocean that Beijing considers its stomping ground.
  • “The India-Russia friendship is not restricted to their respective capital cities. We have put people at the core of this relationship,” the Prime Minister said in Vladivostok.


Why in News?

  • Joint statement on cooperation for 2019-24 with Russia, which was issued in Vladivostok, Russia after Prime Minister Shri. NarendraModi’s annual bilateral summit with Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin.

Natural Gas Sector:

  • Both sides recognize the significance of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) supplied from Russia to India and agree to strengthen LNG imports to India to promote India’s bid to transform itself into a gas-based economy.
  • Russia will encourage its public and private sector companies to participate in gas projects in India, particularly in the development of gas pipeline networks and city gas distribution infrastructure in India.
  • India’s private and public companies will explore the possibility of collaborating in LNG projects, including in the Arctic.In regards to cooperation in the Arctic, Indian companies will examine the possibility of development of closer cooperation with Russian companies, including the LNG Arctic projects of JSC NOVATEK.
  • Both Sides welcome the interest of JSC NOVATEK to enhance LNG supplies to India and joint development of gas market in India including but not limited to LNG infrastructure projects in collaboration with Indian companies.

Training, Technology, Third Country Cooperation:

  • Both Sides will strengthen and diversify existing training exchange program and create new ways of enhancing knowledge exchange, joint research in energy sector, including those in emerging technologies.
  • Both Sides agree to explore possibility of undertaking joint projects in third countries in the energy sector.


Why in News?

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering held wide ranging talks and discussed steps to further expand the bilateral partnership across several sectors.


  • The two countries signed 10 MoUs in the fields of space research, aviation, IT, power and education.
  • Launched the RuPay Card in Bhutan by making a purchase at Simtokha Dzong, built in 1629 by Shabdrung Namgyal, which functions as a monastic and administrative centre and is one of the oldest dzongs in Bhutan.
  • He said an additional $100 million will be available to Bhutan under a standby swap arrangement to meet the foreign exchange requirement.
  • Unveiled an e-plaque on the interconnection between India’s National Knowledge Network and Bhutan’s Druk Research and Education Network.

Significance of Bhutan for India:

  • Bhutan’s significance to India stems from its geographic location. Nestled in the Himalayas, it is sandwiched between India and China. Thus, it serves as a buffer between the two Asian giants.
  • Bhutan’s value as a buffer soared after China annexed Tibet in 1951. As the 2017 crisis in the Doklam region revealed, India will strongly oppose, even militarily, any Chinese attempt to assert control over Doklam. Securing Bhutan’s present borders especially its western border is clearly important for India.
  • Doklam in the hands of a hostile power would heighten the vulnerability of India’s Siliguri Corridor, a narrow strip of land that links India to its Northeastern states.


  • Diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan were established in 1968 with theestablishment of a special office of India in Thimphu. Before this our relations withBhutan were looked after by our Political Officer in Sikkim.
  • The basic framework of India- Bhutan bilateral relations was the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1949 between the two countries, which was revised in February 2007.The Golden Jubilee of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan is being celebrated in the year 2018.

Treaty of Friendship:

  • On August 8, 1949 Bhutan and India signed the Treaty of Friendship, calling for peace between the two nations and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
  • However, Bhutan agreed to let India “guide” its foreign policy and both nations would consult each other closely on foreign and defence affairs. The treaty also established free trade and extradition protocols.
  • Scholars regard the effect of the treaty is to make Bhutan into a protected state, but not a protectorate, because Bhutan continues to have the power to conduct its own foreign policy.

The New Treaty of Friendship 2007:

  • India re-negotiated the 1949 treaty with Bhutan and signed a new treaty of friendship in 2007. The new treaty replaced the provision requiring Bhutan to take India’s guidance on foreign policy with broader sovereignty and not require Bhutan to obtain India’s permission over arms imports.
  • India allows 16 entry and exit points for Bhutanese trade with other countries (the only exception being the People’s Republic of China) and has agreed to develop and import a minimum of 10,000 megawatts of electricity from Bhutan by 2021.

Bilateral Cooperation:

  • There are a number of institutional mechanisms between India and Bhutan in areas such as security, border management, trade, transit, economic, hydro-power, development cooperation, water resources.
  • There have been regular exchanges at the Ministerial and officials’ level, exchanges of parliamentarian delegations to strengthen partnership in diverse areas of cooperation.


  • Hydropower Cooperation Hydropower projects in Bhutan are an example of win-win cooperation, providing a reliable source of inexpensive and clean electricity to India, generating export revenue for Bhutan and cementing our economic integration.
  • Government of India has constructed three Hydroelectric Projects (HEPs) in Bhutan totalling 1416 MW, which are operational and exporting surplus power to India
  • About three-fourth of the power generated is exported and rest is used for domestic consumption.

Military Ties:

  • India has strong military and economic ties with Bhutan. The Indian military “is virtually responsible for protecting Bhutan from external and internal threats” and to this end, the Eastern Command of the Indian Army and Air Force have integrated Bhutan’s defence into their role and responsibilities.
  • Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) trains Bhutanese security personnel as well.


GS 3: Internal Security

Why in News?

  • The 12th edition of joint military exercise between India and Singapore culminated on 11 April 2019 after an impressive closing ceremony held at Babina Military Station (UP).
  • The Exercise is aimed at attaining a high level of interoperability between the armies of both the nations through mutual understanding and familiarization with each other’s operational procedures and equipment.
  • The troops learnt about each other’s organisations and best practices being followed in combat.
  • The exercise was a grand success and taught valuable lessons to troops of both the participating nation.


Why is it in news?

  • President Kagame said the country is more united than ever before, after more than 800000 people were killed in a genocide that shocked the world.


  • Mr. Kagame lit a remembrance flame at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where more than 2,50,000 victims are believed to be buried, mainly from the minority Tutsi people, as the country began its annual 100 days of mourning that coincide with the length of the slaughter.

What is Genocide?

  • Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group.

1994 Rwandan Genocide

  • The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda during the Rwandan Civil War, which had started in 1990.
  • It was directed by members of the Hutu majority government during the 100-day period from 7 April to mid-July 1994.

Tutsi People:

  • The Tutsi, or Abatutsi, are a social class or ethnic group of the African Great Lakes region. They reside primarily in Rwanda and Burundi, but with significant populations also found in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.


  • The move by the United States (U.S.) to terminate India’s designation as beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme because it no longer complied with the statutory eligibility criteria, is likely to affect plastic exports from India

Trade surplus for India

  • In 2018, India and the U.S. reported a bilateral trade (only merchandise goods) worth $84.9 billion, up 20% from the previous year.
  • The trade was in favour of India, which reported a surplus of $17.9 billion during 2018, down 15.1% from $21.1 billion a year earlier.

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)

  • GSP is largest and oldest US trade preference programme introduced in 1976.
  • It is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries both developing and developed countries.
  • Under it, a wide range of industrial and agricultural products originating from certain developing countries are given preferential access to US markets.
  • India’s case, GSP enables duty-free entry of 3,500 product lines in US markets, which benefits exporters of textiles, engineering, gems and jewellery and chemical products.
  • The total US imports under GSP in 2017 was $21.2 billion, of which India was biggest beneficiary with $5.6 billion, followed by Thailand ($4.2 billion) and Brazil ($2.5 billion).
  • The US Congress in March 2018 had voted to renew GSP through 2020.

Impact on Trade with India

  • The withdrawal of the Generalised System of Preferences from India would result in the elimination of duty-free access for about 2,000 Indian product lines.
  • This will hurt small businesses such as jewellery. This will adversely affect Indian exports to the US.
  • After the withdrawal of the Generalised System of Preferences number of goods qualifying for preferential treatment could be reduced, or the whole programme could be withdrawn.


  • India and the U.S. signed an inter-government agreement for the automatic exchange of country-by-country (CbC) reports, which will reduce the compliance burden for Indian subsidiary companies of U.S. parent companies.
  • This is a key step in making India compliant with the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, of which it is an active participant.


  • India and the US can now exchange country-by-country (CbC) reports filed by the ultimate parent corporations based in either of the countries.
  • That is, the Companies headquartered in the US but having operations and taxability in India now need not file country-by-country (CbC) reports in India.
  • For such international companies, filing CbC reports in the US would be sufficient.
  • This will reduce the compliance burden on their subsidiaries operating out of these countries.


  • The Income-tax Act requires Indian subsidiaries of multinational companies to provide details of key financial statements from other jurisdictions where they operate.
  • This provides the I-T Department with better operational view of such companies, primarily with regards to revenue and income tax paid.
  • The provision was a part of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) action plan, and later incorporated in I-T Act also.

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)

  • BEPS is a term used to describe tax planning strategies that exploit mismatches and gaps that exist between the tax rules of different jurisdictions.
  • It is done to minimise the corporation tax that is payable overall, by either making tax profits ‘disappear’ or shift profits to low tax jurisdictions where there is little or no genuine activity.
  • In general BEPS strategies are not illegal; rather they take advantage of different tax rules operating in different jurisdictions.
  • BEPS is of major significance for developing countries due to their heavy reliance on corporate income tax, particularly from multinational enterprises (MNEs).
  • The BEPS initiative is an OECD initiative, approved by the G20, to identify ways of providing more standardised tax rules globally.

Recent Agreements with US

  • CounteringAmerica’sAdversariesThroughSanctionsAct(CAATSA)
  • Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1)
  • National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II)
  • Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)   Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
  • India-USA: 2+2Dialogue

Pak. to safeguard land tilled by Guru Nanak

The Pakistan government has decided to keep 30 acres of land around the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara free of construction.

Gurudwara Darbar Sahib

  • It is 16th century Gurdwara located on the banks of the river Ravi in Shakargarh in Narowal district of Punjab province of Pakistan.
  • It is located about 3 to 4km from Indo-Pak border in Pakistan in Punjabwas established by the first Sikh Guru in 1522.
  • It is important for Sikhs as Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism and its first guru had assembled Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.

Kartarpur Corridor

  • It will road link that will connect India’s border district of Gurdaspur with historic Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
  • It purpose to let Sikh pilgrims visit holy shrine without visa and to help them walk across and come back without having to secure visa.
  • Indian side of corridor will start from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district and extends upto International border between India and Pakistan.
  • The corridor will be developed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and will be funded by the Union Government.
  • The project corridor is 4 lanes with service road and will encompass all other appropriate amenities needed by pilgrims while visiting the Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
  • It will help to boost tourism and people to people contact between both countries as more pilgrims will visit holy shrine throughout the year between two countries.

Guru Nanak Dev – Guru from 1469 to 1539

  • Guru Nanak Dev, first of the 10 gurus, founded the Sikh faith, introducing the concept of one God.
  • He started the institution of Guru Ka Langar. Langar is the term in the Sikh religion refers to the common kitchen where food is served to everyone without any discrimination.
  • He emphasized the equality of women and rejected the path of renunciation and he rejected the authority of the Vedas.
  • He was the contemporary of Mughal emperor – Babur.

India, Pakistan must have long-term vision for ties

China on Friday called upon India and Pakistan to look ahead and turn the current dip in their ties into an opportunity to “fundamentally” improve their relationship through dialogue.

China was engaged in “mediation efforts” to ease tensions between India and Pakistan following the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama, which killed more than 40 CRPF personnel.

Mr. Wang’s remarks follow the visit to Pakistan by Chinese vice-foreign minister Kong Xuanyou, amid speculation that the senior Chinese diplomat also intends to visit India. “This is the second time that a Chinese vice-foreign minister is being sent to Pakistan and India — the first time was in 1999 during the Kargil war.

China hopes that Pakistan and India will transform the crisis into an opportunity and meet each other half-way. We advise both parties to quickly turn this page and seek a fundamental improvement in their relations.

When confrontation gives way to dialogue and disagreements settled by goodwill, they can create better future through cooperation.”

The Chinese foreign minister reiterated that Beijing’s recent high-profile activism in the India-Pakistan equation was based on the principle of freezing the status quo, fact-finding and dialogue.

China has stressed from the beginning the need to exercise calm and restraint, prevent an escalation, find out what has happened, and resolve the matter through dialogue. In the meantime the countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be dutifully respected.

He also lauded indications from Pakistan and India “in the last couple of days” to “de-escalate the situation and start talks.

Analysts, however, point out that China appears to have side-stepped New Delhi’s call that it was ready for talks provided Pakistan took visible and verifiable steps to crackdown on Pakistan-based terror groups, such as Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), that target India.

China hopes that as part of a millennia old civilisation in South Asia, Pakistan and India “will get along with each other and progress together.

On the prospects of New Delhi-Beijing ties in the backdrop of the Wuhan informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping last April, Mr. Wang said that “2018 was a year of great significance in China-India relations,” and cited the Wuhan summit as a “historic” event. It not just deepened the friendship and trust between our leaders, but also set the direction of our future relations.

Collectively, India and China must make our due contribution in Asia’s revitalisation and prosperity. China hopes that “friendship and cooperation” between India and China, “will surge ahead like the Yangtze and the Ganges, giving strong and sustained impetus to our relationship.

India – China- Pakistan Triangle

  • Sino-Indian Trade/Economic Relations
  • Water Dispute
  • Indo-China And Tibet Issue
  • Indo-China Boundary Issue
  • Indo-China Strategic Issues
  • China Supporting Pakistan-Sponsored Terrorism Against India
  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)


  • To boost capability at sea warfare, India on signed a mega defense deal worth over $3 billion for the lease of a nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia to be named Chakra III.


  • The two countries signed an inter-governmental agreement capping months of negotiations on price and various other aspects of the deal.
  • India has gone ahead and signed a deal with Russia despite the threat of US financial sanctions due to an earlier $5.4 billion contract signed last year for S-400 Triumf missile systems.
  • The deal for the submarine is said to include refurbishment of the nuclear boat lying mothballed at Severodvinsk, and training and technical infrastructure for its operations. It is expected to replace INS Chakra, the Akula class submarine, that India had taken on a 10-year lease from Russia in April 2012.
  • The submarine is expected to with India by 2025 and will be in service with India for at least 10 years. The advantage of nuclear-powered submarines is that they can remain submerged for months at end and there is no need to surface like a conventional submarine which need to come out to recharge their batteries.
  • India’s first indigenously built ballistic missile firing submarine INS Arihant, entered service in 2016. INS Arighat, was launched in 2017, and is expected to enter service soon.


  • The deal for the Chakra III came days after Indo-Russian joint production facility to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles for the Indian Army was inaugurated by Prime Minister in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi.
  • In October, India signed a multi-billion-dollar deal with Russia to procure a batch of S-400 air defence missile system.
  • Previously India Navy has taken two more submarines from Russia on lease. The first Russian nuclear-powered submarine — christened INS Chakra — was taken in 1988 under a three-year lease. A second INS Chakra was taken on lease in 2012 for a period of 10 years.
  • The lease of Chakra II will expire in 2022 and India is looking at extending the lease.
  • India has been significantly bolstering its naval prowess in the backdrop of China’s attempts to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The deal has been signed at a time when there is heightened tension between India and Pakistan.


In News:

  • India’s Department of Commerce is looking at the possibility of whittling down tariffs in a couple of contentious sectors the drugs and medical devices and the IT hardware segments in an attempt to temper the unfolding trade tangle with the US.


  • The move to dial down the tension comes a day after the United States announced its intention to “terminate” India’s designation as a beneficiary of its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) duty concession programme, citing that it had failed to provide assurances that it will give the US “equitable and reasonable” access to its markets in numerous sectors. The issue of import duties on smartphones, printer cartridges and other ICT products has been a sticking point and the US has argued that this goes against its multilateral commitments.
  • The US contention is that India maintains “very high” basic customs duties of up to or higher than 20 per cent, on drug formulations, including life-saving drugs and finished medicines listed on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.
  • Besides, concerns have been flagged by the US following India’s decision to cap prices of cardiac stents in 2017, a move that impacted US stent manufacturers.
  • Both these sectors are being seen as potential low hanging for a possible tempering down of positions.
  • Commerce Ministry indicated that the USTR statement about withdrawal of GSP status was unexpected, given the discussions on some of the stick issues “was ongoing” and that India had backed down on “retaliatory tariffs” on sectors such as steel and aluminum that were to be imposed in November.
  • Officially, in response to the measures announced by the USTR, India has maintained that the withdrawal of benefits, if it were to happen, would have a “minimal” impact and that the government had been engaged in discussions to arrive at a “balance” on the issues raised by the US, including “additional requests” raised by Washington on sectors such as medical devices, dairy products and the IT sector that India has not agreed upon.
  • The INDIAN government had slapped a 10 per cent customs duty on mobile phones and other ICT items such as E-readers for the first time in July 2017 and subsequently hiked it to 15 per cent later that year.
  • Customs duties on mobiles were further increased to 20 per cent in last year’s Budget. Then in October 2018, the basic customs duty on several telecom equipment were increased and duties were slapped on printed circuit boards.
  • The US has stated at the WTO that India’s move to hike tariffs on high-tech information and communication technology products from zero to between 10 and 20 per cent has raised significant concerns for US companies and that most of these items were included in the IT Agreement of the WTO, where tariffs are supposed to zero.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and IT’s position on this issue is that the duty hikes were essential to cushion the domestic electronics sector.


The space agencies of India and France signed an agreement to build a constellation of satellites for maritime surveillance intended to identify and track ships in the Indian Ocean.


  • The pact was signed after ISRO chairman and CNES president held a meeting at Bengaluru and discussed a range of issues to intensify cooperation in the area. The meeting between the CNES president and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)chairman offered the opportunity to confirm the progress of the agencies’ work in the field of human spaceflight to lay the groundwork for missions of future Indian astronauts.
  • A team of experts from ISRO will start receiving training this month at the Toulouse Space Centre, the CADMOS Centre for Microgravity applications and space operations and the MEDES space clinic. Already maritime surveillance satellite, studies are ongoing between the two countries for an orbital infrastructure to be operated jointly by India and France.
  • The CNES-ISRO agreement, intended to supply an operational system for detecting, identifying and tracking ships in the Indian Ocean, provides for a maritime surveillance centre to be set up in India.
  • The two nations will explore putting up a constellation of low-Earth orbiting satellites that will identify and track movement of ships globally – and in particular those moving in the Indian Ocean region where France has its Reunion Islands.
  • Before that, they will initially share data from their present space systems and develop new algorithms to analyse them, according to the Paris based National Centre for Space Studies.
  • For the next phase of the programme, studies for an orbital infrastructure to be operated jointly by the two countries are ongoing. CNES is working with its industry partners and with ISRO to devise the most appropriate technical solution.”
  • The Toulouse Space Centre is a centre for research and development relating to space travel.


  • India and France share a robust relationship with India in three critical sectors nuclear energy, space and defence.
  • The development comes a year after French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a ‘Joint Vision for Space Cooperation’ during the former’s visit here in March last year. Besides France, India has signed an agreement with Russia for its ambitious human space mission project ‘Gaganyaan’ under which three Indians will travel to space by 2022.
  • India and France had earlier formed a working group to chalk out ways to cooperate on the Gaganyaan project.
  • The two agencies have put up two climate and ocean weather monitoring satellites Megha-Tropiques (of 2011) and SARAL-AltiKa (2013) that are considered a model.
  • The ambit of the cooperation includes giving ISRO the access to space hospital facilities in France and combining the expertise of the two countries in the field of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support radiation protection and space debris.

Kulbhushan Jadhav Case

  • The first day of oral arguments in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague concluded.


  • India accused Pakistan of “knowingly, wilfully and brazenly” flouting the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. India also attacked the “farcical” trial of Mr. Jadhav, who was found guilty of spying and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in 2017.
  • It requested the court to annul the verdict and direct Pakistan to set Mr. Jadhav free on the basis of the “review and reconsideration” process that would be available to him in that country. The hearing took place without former Pakistani Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who was taken ill before the proceedings commenced and before he could be sworn in as an ad hoc ICJ judge.
  • Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan in 2016 on charges of espionage and sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan. While the Pakistan side claims that Jadhav is an Indian spy, New Delhi maintains that he is a retired Navy official who was kidnapped. The ICJ had ordered Pakistan to stay the execution till the adjudication of the case.

Vienna Convention:

  • The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 is an international treaty that defines a framework for consular relationsbetween independent states. A consul normally operates out of an embassy in another country, and performs two functions: protecting in the host country the interests of their countrymen, and furthering the commercial and economic relations between the two states.

USA to discuss trade and E-Commerce with India

In News:

  • S. Ambassador to India will lead a delegation of officials to hold talks with Union Commerce Minister of India to resolve several sore trade points, including the concerns of American CEOs regarding doing business in India, bilateral trade imbalance, Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) issue.


  • India’s new data localisation rules that force foreign companies to store Indians’ data within the country, and rules amending FDI rules in e-commerce that had hurt American giants like Amazon and Walmart. These are likely to be high on the agenda Indo-U.S. CEO Forum.
  • Trade tensions between the two countries rose last March when U.S. President notified the imposition of higher import tariffs on steel and aluminium, which affected several countries, including India. In retaliation, India announced counter-tariffs on 29 American goods, worth about $235 million, but has delayed implementing them in the hope of resolving the matter.
  • India’s exports to the U.S. in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion, while imports were $26.7 billion. USA had earlier raised the issue of unequal trade and tariffs between the two countries.

What is GSP (Generalized System of Preferences)?

  • The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), instituted in 1971 under the aegis of UNCTAD, has contributed over the years to creating an enabling trading environment for developing countries.
  • The following 13 countries grant GSP preferences: Australia, Belarus, Canada, the European Union, Iceland, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States of America.

What is the impact of GSP withdrawal on India?

  • The GSP removal will leave a reasonable impact on India as the country enjoyed preferential tariff on exports worth of nearly $ 5. 6 billion under the GSP route out of the total exports of $48 bn in 2017-18. In total India exports nearly 1,937 products to the US under GSP. According to the Washington Post, 90 percent of Indian/Brazilian exports to America face normal US tariffs and hence will remain unaffected from the exit of the GSP program.
  • Removal of GSP indicate a tough trade position by the US; especially for countries like India who benefited much from the scheme. The US was insisting India to reduce its trade surplus. India is the 11th largest trade surplus country for the US and India enjoyed an annual trade surplus of $ 21 bn in 2017-18.

SC Seeks count of detained Foreigners


  • The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to provide it details of the number of foreigners lodged in detention centres in Assam.


  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi sought the number of functioning detention centres, the status of pending cases against the detainees before the Foreigners’ Tribunal, the period of their detention and so on.
  • The Bench, which included Justice Sanjiv Khanna, asked Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta to provide details of the number of persons who were declared foreigners and deported till date. It sought year-wise details of foreigners who had illegally entered India in the past decade. The information has to be provided by February 19, the next date of hearing in the court. On November 5 last year, the government informed the court about the framing of new guidelines for keeping foreign nationals in detention centres across the country.
  • Mehta had then submitted that tenders were invited by the Assam government for the setting up of a new detention centre in Goalpara and the work was expected to be completed using pre-fab technology by August 31.

Human rights petition:

  • The court admitted that compared the situation of families languishing in detention centres with the family separation policy imposed on illegal immigrants in the U.S. by the Trump administration. The Bench had then sought responses from the Centre and the Assam government on the plight of families which languish in the State’s six detention centres as “declared foreigners,” separated from each other and their children.

Preventive Detention in India

  • The object of Preventive Detention is not to Punish but to intercept to prevent the Detenu from doing something prejudicial to the State. The satisfaction of the concerned authority is a subjective satisfaction in such a manner. [Ankul Chandra Pradhan Vs. Union of India]. Arrest as laid down in Chapter V of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code 1973 initiates preventive detention which questions one’s right to liberty and freedom.
  • The Justification for preventive detention is suspicion or reasonable apprehension, reasonable probability of the impending commission of an act prejudicial to the state.

Article 22 of Indian Constitution:

  • Article 22 provides that the Detenu under the preventive detention law shall have the right to have his representative against his detention reviewed by an advisory board.
  • If the advisory board reports that the detention is not justified, the Detenu must be released forthwith. If the advisory board reports that the detention is justified, the Government may fix the period for detention.
  • The advisory board may conclude its proceedings expeditiously and must express its opinion within the time prescribed by law. Failure to do that makes the detention invalid.

India S.Africa Seal Partnership Deal


  • We have shared world view, says Modi.
  • India and South Africa agreed on a three-year strategic partnership agreement to boost relations.
  • The agreement, signed during the visit of President Cyril Ramaphosa, will cover defence and security, blue economy cooperation and sustainable development.
  • At the end of the delegation-level talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the scope for cooperation.

Working together:

  • “Our countries have compatible world views. We have strong partnership in platforms such as the BRICS, the G-20, the Indian Ocean Region Association and the IBSA Dialogue Forum. We can work together for the reform of the UN Security Council,” he said.
  • India also invited South Africa to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and congratulated it on securing the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2019-20. A joint statement acknowledged the growing interaction between the Navies of the two countries, and the Indian leader welcomed the South African participation in the India-Africa Field Training Exercise next March.

Common struggle:

  • The statement reiterated the role of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) that ensures freedom of navigation by keeping sea lanes free and secure. Speaking at the first IBSA Gandhi-Mandela Freedom Lecture, organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs, Mr. Ramaphosa highlighted the common heritage of struggle and the common aspiration of non-discriminatory national and international politics.
  • Why India and South Africa should maintain close relations?
  • India and South Africa both are developing countries which means their economy can serve as a source for driving global economy.
  • Sharing the benefits of globalisation and best practices in the field of technology and innovations.
  • India aspirations to step up cooperation with African countries can be successfully achieved with a strong partner like South Africa.
  • We can tap the FDI inflows from South Africa.

India Flays Pakistan SC on Gil Git – Baltistan


  • India on Friday summoned a Pakistani diplomat and protested against a recent order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan that brought the region of Gilgit-Baltistan within its ambit.


Strong protest

  • “The Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned today and a strong protest was lodged on recent order by Supreme Court of Pakistan on the so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’, which is an interference in India’s internal affairs,” the Ministry said.
  • The response came after the Pakistani court said in an order on Thursday that Gilgit-Baltistan came within its domain. It was delivering its comments after the Government of Pakistan ordered constitutional safeguards for the region which previously was not given these safeguards explicitly.

Islamabad’s move:

  • Pakistan in recent months had taken a series of steps to ensure full constitutional and legal guarantees to the region which was strategically important for the country especially in view of the passage of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through the region.
  • “India rejected such continued attempts by Pakistan to bring material change in these occupied territories and to camouflage grave human rights violations, exploitation and sufferings of the people living there. Pakistan was asked to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” the statement from the Ministry declared indicating that it did not recognise the observations of the Pakistan Supreme Court.

About Gilgit-Baltistan:

  • The Gilgit Baltistan was a region of princely state of India ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh. Before independence; a rebellion occurred and rebels established an independent rule for a short time. After that; keeping view of the Muslim predominance in the region; it has been merged with Pakistan but still the region is neither recognized as a part of Pakistan even by Pakistan supreme court nor it remains a part of India.
  • The region has not fully integrated with Pakistan; being governed through special arrangements such as caretaker governments or special secretaries; inhabitants are still not given true representation.

Geo-political importance:

  • The demarcated ceasefire line between India and Pakistan that is Siachen is situated here. It has already led to many conflicts between the two countries. Gilgit- Baltistan bears strategic importance from the security and defense point of view. Also, control of Siachen glacier provides significant upper hand to Indian Army in the Kashmir region.
  • Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan connecting Afghanistan to India is situated in Gilgit. In view of geopolitical importance of Afghanistan specially regarding recent changes of political scenario and withdrawal of American soldiers; this connecting link is vital. Karakoram Pass linking Pakistan to china is situated in Gilgit.
  • China has active presence here through investments in various projects. Shares borders with China: under Chinese proposal of “CPEC”; the region will attract massive Chinese investment to boost regional & Pakistani economy; enhances Sino-Pak ties; region is essential to Chinese strategic vision.
  • This region has been used by various successive governments as a ground to itch communal conflict between Shia and Sunni for political purpose. Gilgit-Baltistan is Shia dominated region. It has been at receiving ends from Sunni terror groups; influx of Sunni from rest of Pakistan has led to ethnic conflicts. Highly militarized. India China and Pakistan maintain heavy military presence around the region. Besides the LoC Indian
  • troops occupy the Siachen Glacier while Chinese troops are also present on the Karakoram pass. Therefore, any flare-up or escalation around this region could become the focal point of a larger conflict.
  • Chinese inroads into the region should be cause of worry for India; as it will undermine India’s regional interests and surround India along Land borders.


In News

  • The Indian pharma industry now has an opportunity to increase exports to Iran, following a rupee payment mechanism agreed upon recently by India and the Persian Gulf nation.


How the Agreement works?

  • Under the agreement, Indian refiners make payments in rupee for oil imports from Iran, to designated accounts maintained with UCO Bank. A portion thus received is to be used by Iran to pay for imports from India, including pharmaceuticals.

Why Pharma Sector?

  • The U.S., had in May last year, come out from a nuclear accord with Iran and re-imposed sanctions. The rupee payment agreement came within weeks of the sanctions to cover oil imports from Iran. Indian pharma exports to Iran were at $124.05 million last fiscal. Iran has a well-established pharma industry that meets 80% of the country’s requirement. The remaining 20% is met predominantly through imports from Europe
  • With a cloud of uncertainty hovering over continued pharmaceutical supplies from Europe in the wake of the U.S. sanctions against Iran, the Indian pharma industry could explore opportunities to step up exports
  • While imposing the sanctions again, the U.S. provided a time window of exemption  under which India and a few other countries could continue to import oil for some time, but of relatively less quantity. Pharmexcil, in a circular, intimated its members recently about the agreement under which 50% of the amount credited by Indian oil companies could be utilised by Iran for making payments to Indian exporters of goods and services. These funds may also be used for settlement of payments to Indian exporters for transactions that took place prior to operationalisation of the arrangement

India – Iran pharmaceutical Trade

  • Constituting mostly APIs (bulk drugs), Indian pharma exports to Iran have been declining in recent years. From $180.50 million in 2015-16, — bulk drugs and intermediates contributing to a little over $119 million and drug formulations and biological around $40 million — pharma exports to Iran fell to $160.33 million in 2016-17. Bulk drugs and intermediates accounted for $83.67 million, while export of drug formulations was for almost $47 million. Of the $124.05 million export in 2017-18, the share of bulk drug and intermediates was $66.22 million. Drug formulations and biologicals export stood at $37.58 million. On replacing European suppliers, it was possible as not all the drugs imported by Iran were innovator drugs. It made economic sense for Iran to source more from India as the U.S. sanctions were likely to impact its economy, turning the spotlight on cost-effective products.

India For Afghanistan Led peace Talks

What’s in the news?

  • Swaraj’s statement goes against Army chief’s suggestion for talks with Taliban
  • India supports the efforts of the government and the people of Afghanistan to build an inclusive nation, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Central Asian countries and Afghanistan on Sunday.
  • “India supports the people and the Government of Afghanistan in their efforts to build a united, sovereign, democratic, peaceful, stable, prosperous and inclusive nation. India supports all efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan which are inclusive and Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled,” Ms. Swaraj said at the India-Central Asia Dialogue at Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Support for process:

  • The statement indicated India’s support for a peace process that will help end the war that has haunted the country for decades.
  • “The violence and terror imposed on Afghan people should end. It should strengthen unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country,” Ms. Swaraj said in her speech at the Samarkhand event.
  • The ministerial statement indicates India’s unchanged position regarding peace building in Afghanistan.
  • Last week, the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, had urged India to begin talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, which did not receive support from the government with the External Affairs Ministry saying that India wanted the peace process in Afghanistan to be “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled”.

Land link

  • A joint statement issued after the Samarkand meeting highlighted the opportunities that the collaborative platform would provide for the people of Afghanistan and asked for Kabul’s participation.
  • The regional Ministers described Afghanistan as a “land link” in the region that will help in connectivity among the nations.
  • About Afghanistan war: A historical Perspective
  • During the time that the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, they allowed an organisation called al-Qaeda to have training camps there.
  • In September 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The United States believed that Osama Bin Laden – who was the head of al-Qaeda – was the man behind these attacks.
  • There was a lot of international pressure on the Afghan leaders to hand over Osama Bin Laden. When the Taliban didn’t do this, the United States decided they would use their armed forces.
  • In October 2001, the USA began bombing Afghanistan. They targeted bin Laden’s al-Qaeda fighters and also the Taliban.
  • In November 2001, the Northern Alliance took control of the Afghan capital Kabul. They were being helped by the US and other countries that agreed with it, including the UK.
  • The Taliban were quickly driven out of the capital city, Kabul, but even today Afghanistan remains a dangerous place.
  • It was in 2011, ten years after the war in Afghanistan began that Osama bin Laden was eventually found by American soldiers in Pakistan, where he was shot and killed.
  • British troops and forces from other countries are still in Afghanistan, trying to help the government build a stable nation.
  • The UK government plans to take all troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

What’s driving the war?

  • There are five major factors responsible for the intensification of the Afghanistan conflict.
  • Both sides are trying to break the stalemate in their favour. Each side wants to increase its influence and seize more territory.
  • There are questions about the effectiveness of the US strategy and the lack of policy clarity since 2001. Tens of thousands of Taliban fighters have been killed, injured or captured since 2001, but their insurgency is not showing any signs of weakness. A decade ago, the US and Afghan governments estimated that there were around 15,000 insurgents in Afghanistan. Today, the estimated number of militants exceeds 60,000.
  • The emergence of the Islamic State’s Khorasan branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan has taken the level of violence and brutality to new heights. The new group has claimed some of the deadliest attacks, mostly on civilian targets in urban centres.
  • As the idea of peace talks has gained momentum, the Taliban want to maximise their leverage and speak from a position of strength at the negotiating table.
  • The increasing tension between the US and regional players – especially Pakistan, Russia and Iran – is also having a negative impact. American and Afghan officials have accused these three countries of supporting the Taliban, which they deny.

At Mini 2 Plus, India, U.S. Review Progress on pacts

What’s in the news?

  • The two sides also exchanged notes on developments in the Indo-Pacific and the region.

The Story

  • India and the U.S. reviewed the progress on finalising two key agreements during the 2+2 intercession meeting last week, apart from taking stock of the overall defence cooperation. The agreements are the Industrial Security Annex (ISA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), a foundational agreement.
  • “This was to follow up on the 2+2 dialogue and to keep the official-level dialogue going. The two sides reviewed the decisions taken at 2+2 and also exchanged notes on developments in the Indo-Pacific and the region, broadly the countries of interest. Also, the bilateral defence cooperation was reviewed, especially the greater Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and the first tri-service exercise which will take place later this year,” an official source said.
  • The inaugural 2+2 dialogue was held last September. The third foundational agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, was signed on the sidelines.
  • The U.S. has already shared a draft of BECA, the last foundational agreement to be signed. “We have a working draft [BECA] which we are looking at. It came some time before the Defence Minister’s visit to Washington,” the official said.
  • The ISA is particularly essential as the Indian industry looks for a greater role in defence manufacturing. It allows sharing of classified information from the U.S. government and American companies with the Indian private sector, which is so far limited to the Indian government and the defence public sector undertakings. The ISA draft is currently going through the official process in Washington.
  • The meeting was attended by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells and Assistant Secretary of Defence Randall Schriver from the U.S. and Joint Secretary of the External Affairs Ministry Gourangalal Das and Joint Secretary of the Defence Ministry Shambhu Kumaran from India.

What is 2 plus 2 dialogue?

  • A ‘two plus two dialogue’ is a term — adopted in foreign parleys — used for installation of a dialogue mechanism between two countries’ defence and external affairs ministries.
  • To put it simply, ‘two plus two dialogue’ is an expression used to indicate that two appointed ministers from each country, the ministers of defence and external affairs in this case, will meet up to discuss the two countries’ strategic and security interests.
  • The goal is to establish a diplomatic, yet fruitful, conversation between the two countries’ respective heads of defence and external affairs.
  • Japan is known to draw from the format ‘two plus two dialogue’ has to offer for years now. Japan leans on this mechanism for its interactions with the US, France, Russia and Australia. India, on the other hand, has established the 2+2 dialogue primarily with Japan. Both the countries have practised a ‘two plus two dialogue’ mechanism almost annually, held considerably before the meeting of the two prime ministers, since 2010.
  • This meeting between the external affairs and defence ministers of two countries helps amass the issues both the prime ministers need to tackle later in their scheduled meetings.

How will it benefit India?

  • It gives a new zeal to the bilateral relations with US as it declared Asia-Pacific region as Indo-Pacific. It will help sort out some international issues with U.S. for example poultry issue in WTO which is filed against India by US can be sort out with these engagements.
  • Asian region can be stabilised especially keeping in mind Afghanistan where both India and US share a common goal. At domestic level technology transfer can be negotiated if the existing pace continues.

Will Not Accept High – Value Indian Currency, Says Nepal


  • Upset over continued delays by New Delhi in exchanging demonetised currency, Nepal says it will not accept high-value Indian notes until the government gives specific assurances against future shocks.


  • Nepali officials said that India was yet to respond to Nepal’s two-year-old demand for the return of more than Rs. 7 crores in demonetised notes
  • According to Nepali officials, when Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes were demonetised on November 8, 2016, neighbouring countries where Indian currency is used, such as Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar, were left holding large sums of the demonetised currency. While India has subsequently settled the issue with Bhutan, it is yet to respond to Nepal’s requests
  • And it has affected Nepal as the Indian currency is used in daily transactions and many Nepalese working in India take remittances and savings in cash across the border.
  • Recent reports that India has stopped printing the Rs. 2,000 denomination notes have spurred speculation in Nepal that they might also be demonetised
  • In this background, Nepali government has taken a decision to not accept high value Indian currencies until they get assurances from the Indian government.


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