20th April – Predictable chaos in Libya

Predictable chaos Libya

General Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army, is advancing on the capital Tripoli, having taken control of the east of the country including most of the oilfields.

Predictable chaos Libya

Background –

  • Gen. Haftar had helped Muammar Qaddafi seize power in 1969 before going into exile in the U.S. in the 1980s, but returned to Libya in 2011 to join in Qaddafi’s overthrow.
  • The revolt against Qaddafi began in Benghazi, and western intervention was legitimised by the fig leaf of a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire, a no-fly zone and protection of civilians, on which there were five abstentions which included India, Russia and China.
  • Qaddafi accepted the resolution. Shortly thereafter, France, the U.K. and the U.S. attacked Qaddafi’s forces and NATO assumed responsibility for regime change at the same moment that an African Union mediation mission was en route to Libya.
  • He now casts himself as a conservative Salafist opposing Islamists and the Muslim Brothers, and has the backing — for their individual reasons — of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and some West Asian states, apart from Russia (openly) and France (covertly).

Libya’s descent

  • The United Nations recognised Tripoli’s administration is called the Government of National Accord, but is anything but that, being dependent on a motley of warlords, militant or moderate Islamists, secessionists and monarchists, all split on regional and ethnic lines.
  • Even before Gen. Haftar launched his offensive, West Libya was replete with inter-militia battles and kidnappings. The Tripoli government commands no security forces, public administration scarcely exists, water, petrol and power shortages abound, and few banks operate. Thousands are fleeing towards Tunisia, and 180 people have been killed so far in the recent fighting.

Post Cold-War phenomenon

  • In 1965 and 1981, the UN adopted declarations on the inadmissibility of intervention in the domestic affairs of states, and until the 1990s the UN was the custodian of state sovereignty.
  • The Iraqi-Libyan species of intervention, professedly with UN approval but actually under western control, is a post Cold-War phenomenon, the motivation being to implant liberal democratic institutions and human rights, along with security concerns, usually thinly justified by 9/11 and lately the Islamic State.
  • Exogenous state-building and a peripheral role for local leaders characterise this innovation in international relations. The spectre of failed states became a major concern, leading to the imposition of a neo-liberal agenda in the guise of human rights protection.
  • The ambiguous legal justification for interventions not specifically authorised by the UN showed that attempting nation-building in societies divided by ethnic, factional, ideological and religious lines is beyond the capacity of any minority group of UN members.

Justifying the wars –

Two factors paved the way for these neo-protectorates;

  1. activists with rights-based agendas joined the political mainstream, and
  2. western outrage to televised suffering.
  • Activists united with foreign policy establishments, and third world disorder presented opportunities for sly expansion of mandates into new operating areas. Added to these was post-1990 revisionism towards state sovereignty and permissiveness to humanitarian interventions.
  • Relativism towards sovereignty was anathema to post-colonial independent states, especially when western interventions were selective and political in nature, and the victims of intervention lacked the power to oppose.
  • There could be no institution building in such countries because the interveners were more concerned with checking the power of institutions rather than building them, and to appease domestic opinion back home, concentrated on exit strategies and political markers such as holding elections.

Conclusion –

Whether in Libya or elsewhere, expeditionary interventions to implant human rights and democracy have a certain heuristic value in understanding the illusions of western hegemony which rose to prominence in our times and sought to mould the third world in its image.

SourceThe Hindu

Also Read: 19th April – Trawling for a sustainable livelihood

 

North Korea Crisis | RSTV Summary

North Korea has considerably upgraded its nuclear weapons arsenal and capability which is increasing tensions in the Korean peninsula. It has conducted the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) tests. President Trump has strongly reverted back by pointing that the American Government can reply using the analogy of fire and fury. This situation is compared to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
Analysis

  • North Korea-USA relations are antagonistic in nature since the Korean War. Since the Korean War of 1950s, the US has regularly maintained a strong military presence in South Korea and Japan.
  • North Korea maintains a huge military force as per its ‘military-first’ policy. It ranks third after the US and Russia in the possession of nuclear weapons.
  • North Korea has been testing nuclear weapons since 2006. The latest tests have launched missiles that flew over Japan and ultimately it threatened the US territory of Guam.
  • President Trump has warned of signalled his intention to send the US Carl Winson super carrier and its carrier strike group to the Korean peninsula.

Impact of a future war –

  • Causalities and financial losses will be immense including the losses to world economy.
  • Rise in debt levels of US and ripple down effects to the whole world impacting the global supply chains.
  • In case of entering of war in South Korea, it being one of the largest hubs of electronics manufacturing, would create shortages across the world.
  • There would be a large scale migration of refugees from North Korea to China, Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries.

Conclusion –
It would be better if some diplomatic resolution is adopted to freeze the war. China holds the key to this diplomatic resolution as it is the largest trade partners of North Korea (DPRK). US should put more pressure on China and Russia who possess some leverage on the rogue state of North Korea.

Promo Codes: Waitr Promo Codes,  WSOP Codes

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India and China propose joint project at WTO | PIB

Recently (on 18 July 2017) India and China jointly submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) calling for the elimination – by developed countries – of the most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies, known in WTO parlance as Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) or ‘Amber Box’ support as a prerequisite   for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations.
Significance –

  • This is an important proposal by India and China in view of the ongoing negotiations for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017.
  • It counters the efforts by some countries to target the subsidies of the developing countries while letting the developed countries retain their huge farm subsidies.

Details –

  • The joint paper reveals that developed countries, including the US, the EU and Canada, have been consistently providing trade-distorting subsidies to their farmers at levels much higher than the ceiling applicable to developing countries.
  • Developed countries have more than 90% of global AMS entitlements amounting to nearly US$ 160 bn. Most of the developing countries, including India and China, do not have AMS entitlements.
  • Listing the most heavily and frequently subsidised products by the US, the EU and Canada since 1995, the paper calls for elimination of such subsidies. The numbers reveal that subsidies for many items provided by the developed world are over 50% and some even more that 100% of the value of production of the product concerned, while developing countries are forced to contain it within 10% of the value of production.
  • In other words, while developed Members have access to huge amount of AMS beyond their de minimis (these are the minimal amounts of domestic support that are allowed even though they distort trade — up to 5% of the value of production for developed countries, 10% for developing.) in contrast most developing Members have access only to de minimis resulting in a major asymmetry in the rules on agricultural trade.
  • Elimination of AMS, India and China believe, should be the starting point of reforms rather than seeking reduction of subsidies by developing countries, some of which like India provide a subsistence amount of about US $ 260 per farmer per annum compared to over 100 times more in some developed countries.

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Defence Agreements With Russia

Details of Defence Agreements signed with Russia over the past five years is as under

  • Defence Agreements for training of Indian armed forces personnel in the military educational establishments of the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation. (Date of signing 11.12.2014).
  • Agreement between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation on cooperation in Aircraft flight safety. (Date of signing 21.01.2015).
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Russian Federation on cooperation in the field of Helicopter Engineering. (Date of signing 24.12.2015).
  • Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India on supply of S-400 Triumph Air Defence Missile systems to the Republic of India. (Date of signing 15.10.2016).
  • Defence Agreements between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of India for construction of follow-on-ships of project 11356 in Russia and in India (Date of signing 15.10.2016).

India-Russia defence relations

India and Russia have several major joint military programmes including –

  • BrahMos cruise missile programme
  • 5th generation fighter jet programme
  • Sukhoi Su-30MKI programme (230+ to be built by Hindustan Aeronautics)
  • Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft

Additionally, India has purchased/leased various military hardware from Russia 

  • S-400 Triumf 12.
  • Kamov Ka-226 200 to be made in India under the Make in India initiative.
  • T-90S Bhishma with over 1000 to be built in India.
  • Akula-II nuclear submarine (2 to be leased with an option to buy when the lease expires).
  • INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier programme.
  • Tu-22M3 bombers (4 ordered).
  • US$900 million upgrade of MiG-29.
  • Mil Mi-17 (80 ordered) more in Service.
  • Ilyushin Il-76 Candid (6 ordered to fit Israeli Phalcon radar).
  • The Farkhor Air Base in Tajikistan is currently jointly operated by Indian Air Force and Tajikistan Air Force.

Defence Agreements | Conclusion

The Government makes all efforts to encourage greater manufacturing of defence equipment in India through the ‘Make in India’ framework, including through transfer of technology arrangements.  Several licensed production agreements have been implemented with Russian companies in India, such as for Sukhoi-30 aircraft, T-90 tanks, BMP-2 armoured personnel carriers etc. Divulging the texts of such Agreements will not be in the interest of national security.

Doklam Standoff – India China Border

Doklam StandoffDoklam Standoff near Bhutan between India and China is becoming a major concern, near the Chumbi Valley at the corner of India-China-Bhutan tri-junction. This month long border Doklam Standoff has become the longest ever between the two nations. This is also the first time when Indian troops have confronted the People’s Liberation Army of China on the soil of a third country i.e. Bhutan. There are two reasons for this standoff – India has a long standing commitment to Bhutan’s defence and serves as a virtual security guarantor to Bhutan through the 2007 friendship treaty. Secondly, the Doklam sector is critical to India as it brings China even closer to the Indian border in a vulnerable location towards the 27-kilometres long Siliguri Corridor or “Chicken’s neck” that connects the Northeastern states of India with the rest of India. China has repeatedly disputed Bhutan’s claims over Doklam. Beijing considers this plateau as vital to fortify the dagger-shaped Chumbi valley by piercing the tri-junction.

Doklam Standoff | History

Intrusions in Sikkim area may be new but there is a general pattern of such incursions are traced back to 2008 Beijing Olympics. In Ladakh and other places, the Chinese troops have been repeatedly working towards ingression in such areas. In 2009, the Chinese refused to give visas on Indian passports for several months for citizens of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Commander-in-Chief of the then Northern Command.Three factors started emerging in 2008 which are converging now in 2017 – the first being Pakistan’s renewed animosity against India which was earlier demonstrated during the Mumbai attacks, the second was the street rage which was demonstrated within the Kashmir valley, and the last being China’s attempts to stymie India’s growth trajectory while it still can do it in the long term.

Actually, the border dispute in the region dates back to the 19th century when the states in the region were expanding in the areas which were loose in nature – North East Frontier Agency, North West Frontier Agency by the British Empire, and the Qing dynasty under the warlordswas expanding the Empire in Tibet and Sichuan. The 1890 treaty was signed between the British Empire and the Qing dynasty in China, 1914 Shimla Agreement between the British Empire, the Tibetans and the nationalist China are the two agreements being cited by China to stake legal claims over the region. The treaty of 1890 was signed but the delineation and demarcation did not happen subsequently, specifically in the Sikkim sector. In the 1914 Shimla Agreement, China was represented by Ivan Chen, LonchenShatra represented Tibet and McMahon represented the British-India Empire, yet this agreement is labelled as Imperialist in nature by the Chinese authorities. They have ignored the 1885 Treaty between France-controlled Vietnam and the Qing dynasty at the time. Therefore, selectively implementing treaties according to their own convenience is the issue at hand with China.

It is being said that one of the objectives of China is to test India’s resolve to defend its ally Bhutan in the case of a border dispute turning into a war. This current Doklam Standoff around the tri-junction of India-China-Bhutan border is an extension to the policy of encirclement being pursued by the Chinese around India. India has spent too much time on the ‘principles of Panchsheel in dealing with an aggressive state like China, the current standoff between the two neighbours at a strategic territory is a reflection of the change in this decades old approach by India towards China.

The May 2015 ‘White Paper on National Defence’ by China talks about Chinese armed forces protecting China’s interests abroad. In November 2014, President Xi Jinping addressed the fourth Foreign Affairs Work Conference and mentioned that the foreign ministry has to protect the interests of China abroad. Hence, the Foreign Ministry and the military is now showcasing a synchronised effort to secure their strategic interests at the Tibet region. China has adopted a strategy of legal, media and psychological warfare which was initiated in 2005. China is playing a psychological warfare through its state controlled media, cash-controlled global think tanks and tactical strategies by the PLA troops on the ground to aggravate India to enter into a war. It is using legal strategies to point out that India is entering a third-country i.e. Bhutan, forgetting for the moment that the Chinese entered the Korean war in the 1950s.

Doklam Standoff | Present

China can roughly mobilise about 28-30 divisions in all in the case of a conventional war which includes mobilisation of around 5 divisions in the Sikkim-Bhutan sector, 8 in the Arunachal sector, about 3 divisions in Barahoti (middle sector of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh) and roughly about 14 divisions in the Western sector. These divisions would be mobilised through the narrow passages because of the high Tibetan plateau region that makes it easier for the Chinese to push through such forts. Currently, China possesses around 62-63 division in the PLA, out of which they would have to muster around half of the strength towards India which is actually difficult for them, considering the volatile situation in China’s other long boundaries with other hostile nations. In the Sikkim-Bhutan sector, the Chinese face geographical issues because India is at the high ground over the hills, so the casualties can roughly be regarded as 33,000 on the other side. Hence, the Chinese would take a backseat in the conventional warfront. At the sub-conventional level, it is quite possible that the 158 monasteries that India has in the trans-Himalayan belt will come under stress due to the current standoff between India and China. Therefore, India needs to worry more about the sub-conventional warfare techniques of China, more than the conventional warfare strategies because it is untenable for China to go for it.

India is successfully holding to all the semantics played by China and the Government is responding to such semantics with appropriate responses at the most opportune times. As rightly pointed out by the India’s Defence Minister ArunJaitley,

“India is not the same as that of 1962.”

SASEC Road Connectivity Programme | PIB Summary

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur at a cost of Rs. 1630.29 crores.

SASEC  | Details

  • Manipur being a landlocked state with almost 90% of the area under difficult terrain presently has only road transport as a means of mass transport system within the state. Hence development of the road infrastructure is of paramount importance to improve connectivity and progress of the State and to ensure that the administrative set up reaches the isolated and remote habitats.
  • The project will improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of the state. Based on the existing and projected traffic requirements the NH-39 will be widened to 4 lane between Lilong village and Wanginj village, while the stretch between Wanginj village to Khongkhang will be upgraded to 2 lane with paved shoulder.

SASEC  | Financing of the project

The project is being developed with ADB’s loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program which aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity among BBIN nations.

SASEC  | Significance

  • The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01) and acts as India’s Gateway to the East. Thus trade, commerce and tourism in the region will get a boost.
  • The workers of Manipur who specialize in creating bamboo and wood based handicraft items and uniquely designed hand woven textile items will get a new market among the Myanmar’s customers.
  • Small scale industries such as those making farm implements and tools, stationery, plastic extrusion items, carpentry units, could also develop markets beyond the border.
  • Besides socio-economic development the project will also lead to reduction in average travel time along the project road by nearly 40%.
  • In addition, the new features of road safety namely vehicular underpasses, crash barriers, road signs & markings, service roads for segregation of slow and high moving traffic, truck lay-by, bus-bays etc. will help in greatly reducing accidents.
  • Improved highway and lesser travel time will lead to savings in terms of fuel cost.

SASEC  | Background

For fulfilling India’s “Look East” Policy and to promote and enhance trade link with South East Asia, the Government of India has notified an Integrated Custom Post (ICP) at Moreh. The development of this project is essential in order to support the increased traffic volume due to coming up of ICP.

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Malabar Exercise 2017

Naval co-operation between India, US and Japan epitomises the strong and resilient relationship between the three democracies. The Malabar Exercise series, initiated in 1992 between the Indian and US Navies, have steadily grown in scope, complexity and participation into a multifaceted exercise with the participation of Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF).

Details of Malabar Exercise 2017

  • The 21st edition of the exercise, MALABAR-17 will be conducted in the Bay of Bengal from 10 to 17 July 2017.
  • The primary aim of this exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the three navies as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
  • The scope of MALABAR-17 includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase at Chennai and a diverse range of operational activities at sea.
  • The thrust of exercises at sea this year would be on Aircraft Carrier operations, Air Defence, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Warfare, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), Search and Rescue, Joint Manoeuvres and Tactical procedures.

Indian Navy – Malabar Exercise

The Indian Navy will be represented by the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya with its air wing, guided missile destroyer Ranvir, indigenous stealth frigates Shivalik and Sahyadri, indigenous ASW corvette Kamorta, missile corvettes Kora and Kirpan, one Sindhughosh class submarine, fleet tanker INS Jyoti and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I. 

Conclusion | Malabar Exercise

MALABAR-17 will be another milestone with participation of 16 ships, two submarines and more than 95 aircraft, towards strengthening mutual confidence and inter-operability as well as sharing of best practices between the Indian, Japanese and US Navies. The exercise is a demonstration of the joint commitment of all three nations to address common maritime challenges across the spectrum of operations and will go a long way in enhancing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region, for the benefit of the global maritime community.

OBOR can lead to colonisation | IAS Coaching Chandigarh

Since the start of this century, the world has seen a shift in power balance, courtesy China’s emerging economic might, which challenged a US-dominant unipolar world that had been in existence since 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved, officially ending the Cold War. Click Below to enlarge to OBOR Map

Expanding China | OBOR

  • The Chinese foreign policy touts OBOR is purely an economic mission, facilitating cooperation in trade, investment, energy, developmental projects such as railway and road. Actually, OBOR is a geopolitical architecture aimed at expanding Chinese influence in and around the region.
  • It has the potential to lead much of the world into a debt trap. China’s intent is to create an infrastructure which would allow physical movement of goods, more specifically Chinese goods, to large parts of Asia and Europe including Russia.

Why OBOR got popular?

  • According to the World Bank, the growth of overseas development assistance (ODA) is slowing down globally, leading to ODA’s diminishing share in gross national income (GNI) in the developing world, while multilateral development banks merely support 10 per cent of the developing world’s infra spending. In leastdeveloped countries, ODA was only 5.89 per cent of GNI in 2013, against 11.28 per cent in 1990.
  • Cash-rich China is, perhaps, trying to make use of this opportunity to fulfil its expansionist tactics and lure countries to fund their infrastructure needs through Chinese funds. These funds may not be in the form of a grant, and would seek a return on the long term investments made, which in some cases could accrue much higher interest rates than offered under ODA.

OBOR | Debt trap

An analysis of the Asian economies, mostly emerging, under OBOR’s influence (where data from IMF was available), shows the average reserves to external debt as on 2015 stands at 53.3 per cent. These debts levels are bound to increase as they get more intertwined with OBOR plans.

  • Myanmar – It shows a negative 61.2 per cent external debt to reserves. According to a Parliamentarian in Myanmar, out of the $9 billion of the total foreign debts, Chinese loans amount to almost $4 billion, accounting for 44 per cent of the total external debt.
  • Mongolia – It witnessed its economy growing by just 1 per cent in 2016, down from 17.5 per cent growth in 2011. It now has US$ 22 billion in debt, more than double the size of its economy.
  • Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka’s estimated national debt as per the data available from IMF stands at $44 billion in 2015, of which around 15 per cent is owed to China. Recently, for the Hambantota port project, Sri Lanka was coerced to borrow around $300 million from China with an interest rate of 6.3 per cent, while the World Bank and the ADB could have provided soft loans with the interest levels within 3 per cent.
  • Nepal and Afghanistan – They are outliers given the fact that they are huge recipients of grants in the form of official development assistance. A brief analysis of the import pattern of the Asian participants, who have agreed to be a part of this OBOR initiative, reveals that most of the ASEAN countries, especially Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam, run a Chinese-led trade deficit which is more than 30 per cent.

Impact of OBOR

  • Given the debt situation in most of these OBOR economies in Asia, and their inability to repay the debt, could lead the Chinese acquiring equity possession of these large tracts of infrastructure projects and thereby making inroads into the geographic space.
  • Another possible implication of OBOR could also be the spreading the use of Yuan as an alternate currency to the dollar. Given such multiple corollaries, the OBOR can even lead towards economic colonisation by China.

Conclusion | OBOR

The OBOR initiative may act like a slow poison killing the domestic production capabilities of not only the emerging economies in Asia, but also those crisscrossing continents in Central Asia and Europe, making them heavily depended upon Chinese imports. Trade deficits are also about the jobs that we lose to overseas competitors. All these would have major political a

Asia-Africa Growth Corridor | RSTV

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently pushed for an Asia-Africa Growth Corridor supported by Japan and India. This comes up within days after China launched its ambitious OBOR. Asia-Africa Growth Corridor was launched during the annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB) at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, where the vision document was launched for the initiative.

About Asia-Africa Growth Corridor

It is a roadmap for opportunities and aspirations of Asia and Africa and has been launched with an aim to prioritize development projects in agriculture and agro-processing, skill enhancement, health and pharmaceuticals and disaster management.

It is destined to focus on people centric sustainable growth approach, the details of which would be evolved through a process of detailed consultation across Asia and Africa.

Background

The idea of Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) had emerged during the Joint Declaration issued PM Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during the former’s visit to Japan in November 2016.

Components of AAGC

  • Development and cooperation projects
  • Quality infrastructure and institutional connectivity
  • Capacity and skill enhancement
  • People to people partnerships

Analysis

  • AAGC aims to be an efficient and sustainable mechanism for linking economies, industries and institutions, ideas and people in Africa and Asia in an inclusive manner unlike China’s OBOR strategy which aims to form colonies in the area through its economic power.
  • There is vast and untapped potential in both Asia and Africa which needs to be explored for shared growth, development, peace, prosperity and stability of these regions.
  • If Africa looks towards US or Europe for these things, it is very expensive. So, India and Japan are the best in terms of compatibility of interest for Africa. China’s OBOR is concentrated on Eurasian mainland for trade by creating trade infrastructure because China has huge reserves built by trade surplus over the years which has to be balanced globally. AAGC is Indian Ocean oriented initiative basically for the African people and their priorities. India is willing to assist Africa as per its priorities and requirements whereas China is more self-centred
  • As far as engaging more partners is concerned, South Africa is undoubtedly India’s strategic partner. But South Africa’s relationship with China also needs to be monitored and its role in unfolding strategy of China in Africa. Japan’s major flagship conference took place in Kenya whereas China’s major flagship conference took place in South Africa. So, these are the indicators for India to see which countries it can depend upon or bring in to AAGC.

 Mandate of AAGC

  • Effective mobilization of financial resources for inclusive development.
  • Application of high-quality standards in terms of compliance with international standards established to mitigate environmental and social impact.
  • Contribution to the local society and economy of the partner countries.
  • Providing quality infrastructure and taking into account various aspects of economic efficiency and durability, inclusiveness, safety and disaster-resilience, sustainability as well as convenience and amenities.
  • Alignment with socio-economic development and development strategies of partner countries and regions concerned;

Conclusion

At a time when China is rapidly expanding itself in Africa, India and Japan do not have luxury of time to wait and observe the ramifications of such an expansive strategy. We should immediately seizure the moment and initiate a few joint pilot projects involving the private and public sector companies of India, Japan and a few African countries in identified areas like agriculture, health and infrastructure.

Click Below to See the Debate on RSTV

Energy Diplomacy China India Relations | RSTV

In this post we shall see all the possible factors as to why energy diplomacy is important to India (with a special focus on Energy Diplomacy China India Relations ).

Away from the accolades that accompanied the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative of China, India has been quietly working on creating connectivity grids in its neighbourhood and moving beyond physical connectivity to energy as a tool for connectivity. From Indonesia to Mauritius, India is working on a web of relationships that seek to leverage India’s position as a big source of petroleum products, sharing of technology and building interdependencies. Mauritius, one of India’s closest partners in the Indian Ocean region could become a hub for petroleum storage and bunkering for which India has started building infrastructure. India already supplies petroleum products to Mauritius from its Mangalore Refineriesas well as a retail player in that country. As a petroleum hub, Mauritius can secure its own energy supplies while India can use it to market in other parts of Africa. On the other side of the Indian Ocean, India and Indonesia are beginning an energy relationship. Indonesia is one of the biggest sources of hydrocarbon and has been in and out of OPEC. We shall see all the possible factors as to why energy diplomacy is important to India (with a special focus on Energy Diplomacy China).

Energy security v/s national security

India is growing at a rate of 7-8 per cent per annum and sustaining this momentum of growth requires a continuous pace of energy consumption. This fact is in line with the argument that energy security of India is an integral part of India’s developmental as well as national security positioning. Due to the rapid expansion of their economies, both India and China present the world’s biggest appetite for energy. Energy Diplomacy China India relations take high importance as both these countries have high import dependence to secure their energy demands, this race between the two largest developing countries for energy security will determine the shape of the twenty-first-century world. It is somewhat similar to what happened in the last century between the Allied forces and Germany, during the peak of industrialization, of course with different contours.In the last few years, India and China’s face off has been concentrated around the sources of energy supplies (particularly oil and gas resources). As both these countries are highly dependent on coal for meeting their energy demands, the big question at this moment should be concentrated on the type of fuel that both these countries would adopt next in their economic growth trajectory.

Convergence of interests | Energy Diplomacy China

Both India and China are trying to shift to the renewable sources of energy, hence, they should rather cooperate at the optimum level to ensure a situation of win-win for both sides. Instead of this desirable cooperation, an unhealthy friction has been developed over the years due to the expansionist and neo-colonialist policies of China in India’s neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean. We have failed to effectively utilise the forum of ‘India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue’ since its inception in 2010. This forum can be a bulwark in securing effective cooperation to minimise friction over energy security of both our nations. For instance, formalising the trade in solar photovoltaic equipment which is importedby India from China can reap maximum benefits for both the nations.

Expanding horizons | Energy Diplomacy China Relations

Energy investments have a long gestation period, so what we are planning today will start producing the intended results in 2030. Therefore, India needs to prioritise what sources of energy it wishes to utilise in the next decade and the decisions for the same should be taken right now. According to this argument, investing in renewable sources of energy makes more sense, which is in fact what we are doing today. The concerns have been raised about the national security paradigm in terms of abrogating the safer channels of fossil fuels in return for sourcing energy demands through the unchartered territory of renewables for a comparatively long and crucial period of India’s growth. The issues of political and national sovereignty complement these concerns which have been outlined at the appropriate forums.

Renewable era

India is a responsible signatory to the Paris Climate Accord and a proud supporter of the UN-2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, we are poised to shift our focus to the renewable as evident from recent developments in India. The public support and understanding for this gigantic shift are positive which would go a long way in securing our intended contributions towards renewable sources of energy.

India and China are the stories of the future; hence they cannot afford to be non-accommodative towards each other in terms of securing energy supplies. The current cooperation at the small sub-group level between India’s NITI Aayog and National Development and Reform Commission of China should be replaced by the highest political and strategic cooperation.

Energy Diplomacy China | Securing energy channels

Unlike China, where the energy sector corporations do not need to seek approval of the Government to bid for energy sources abroad, Indian corporations need to seek Cabinet’s approval before venturing out for large investments abroad in the energy sector. This creates a safety cushion for Indian corporations but at the same time, it hinders the possibility to explore lucrative sources of energy at a quick pace in this competitive world. It must be remembered that many major investments by the Chinese private energy corporations have been disastrous for them in commercial terms, whereas Indian investments abroad have been more cautious, prudent and commercially viable.

In domestic terms, India has done reasonably well in the energy sector, both in terms of technical and the fuel aspects. It may be lagging behind China in securing sources of fuel from global channels due to non-adherence of colonial ambitions, but in terms of technological traits, we might have even outperformed China in establishing state of the art technology for transmission and distribution equipment and maintenance, boiler turbine generation manufacturing facility for thermal generation and we are gradually picking up in the spheres of renewable energy equipment sectors like solar photovoltaic cells.

Way forward | Energy Diplomacy China

Most of the capacity additions in electricity generation around the world are going to happen in India in the next ten years. India will move from its current capacity of 300,000 MW to 1,500,000 MW in the next decade. Therefore, India will be at the centre stage in terms of development in the energy sector, so we cannot afford inimical relationships with our resource line countries.

Conclusion

It is true that one cannot have energy security by being absolutely autarkic. India slipped into this mess in 1947 by clarifying that it will not look for energy supplies anywhere in the world and we will secure our energy sources to build-up. Until the frontiers of energy security are shifted out of the off-the-shelf sources to building up of own capacities in terms of technology, the ambition of sustainable economic growth would keep on dangling through the walls of uncertainty. A strong political commitment to secure theinvolvement of all the concerned stakeholders including the general public for swallowing the implications of this long-term investment would be required to ensure safe passage to the renewable mode of energy.

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