1. Indian Foreign Policy this week ahead
The Prime Minister is all set to attend the 11th BRICS summit in Brasilia, Brazil from November 13th to 14th. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is a group of emerging economies in the world. The countries cooperation on multiple issues such as trade and investments, disaster management, counter terrorism and an alternate financing mechanism in the form of the New Development Bank, whose objective is to work as an alternative to the western dominated financial bodies such as the IMF and IBRD (World Bank).
The External Affairs Minister who has just ended his trip to Serbia and has visited the Royal Kingdom of Netherlands will conclude his trip on the 11th of November. During this visit he will interact with the Dutch parliamentarians, meet his counterpart Stef Blok and discuss the ties between the two countries in a comprehensive manner. The two countries have strong economic ties and Netherlands is also a partner of India in the process of the latter’s sustainable development.
The CEO of Qatar Airways has announced that the airline may be interested in acquiring stakes in the domestic carrier Indigo Airlines.
2. Civil unrest around the world
There has been a wave of protests around the world due to issues related to governance deficit, economic stress, political repression and environmental causes. Many observers see this trend in Iraq and Lebanon as a beginning of Arab Spring-2. The former nation has just started the exercise of nation rebuilding after the US invasion of 2003 and the mess created by terrorism unleashed by the Islamic State starting from 2014.
Many nations are also seeing protests as a combination of the above mentioned reasons. A case in example is Lebanon. Political repression followed by economic distress has resulted in massive civil society protests which has even forced the Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign. They are due for election soon.
It is abundantly clear that no nation can repress the freedom of its people and snatch away their political rights. The protests in Hong Kong and Ethiopia are examples. Hong Kong is battling it out with mainland China even as the latter seeks greater integration of the special administrative region with it. The people are facing human rights violations bravely against the authoritarian regime and have paralysed the business districts of the city. This has gone on for more than a month and it needs to be seen till when China will stop itself from sending in combat troops to bring the situation under control even as the local police despite violating well established principles of human rights, fail to bring the situation under control.
The situation in Chile is peculiar. The protests began last month over a proposed hike of the suburban rail fare and has now sustained it over a wide variety of issues including the election of President Sebastian Pinera. The armed forces are out on the streets to control the situation. In this regard, the government of Chile that was to host the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit and the COP 25 climate change summit has expressed its inability to host these summits.
3. Indian Neighbourhood watch
Presidential Election in Sri Lanka- 16th November 2019, the Sri Lankan people will be voting their new President. The incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena’s term ends on 9th January 2020.
The main candidates include Lt. Colonel Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the former Secretary of Defence and Urban Development. He is contesting on a ticket issued by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party. He is also the brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He faces an uphill task in the Tamil dominated areas of Northern and Eastern provinces for his alleged human rights violations.
Other candidates include Sajith Premadasa from the United National Party, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka of the Janatha Vimukhti Peramuna and Mahesh Senanayake of the National People’s Party.
India is keenly watching the elections and has stated that it will work with any incoming government to further its relations with the pearl of the Indian ocean. A middle-income country with envious socio-economic parameters, it affords plenty of business opportunities for India.
There are certain genuine concerns related to Chinese presence in the land and the debt trap diplomacy pursued by the dragon that seeks to blatantly ignore well established principles of International Law and threaten small islands states in the region.
Azadi march in Islamabad- The capital city of Pakistan has seen day to day life being affected as a Million people extending support to Maulana Fazlur Rahman, an opposition leader, have blocked the Faizabad interchange connecting the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Most of the opposition parties have extended their support to this rally hoping to remove the ‘selected PM’ Imran Khan Niazi whose election victory last year is seen as largely rigged by the infamous ISI and Pakistan Army. The maulana has asked for the Pakistan Army to stay out of politics and focus on the security situation in the country. Some analysts have also highlighted the growing factionalism in the Pakistan Army as General Qamar Bajwa has secured an extension of three years, thus denying promotional opportunities to many Lt. General rank officers. This protest is said to be sponsored by one of the factions.
The Afghan Election Commission is expected to announce the results of the Presidential elections that took place in the month of October.
4. Elections around the world
Ethiopian Referendum- The ethnic community of Sidama will be voting in a referendum to determine the creation of an autonomous region on 13th November 2019.
The Spanish General election is due for 10th November 2019. Even as the country is grappling with many issues related to economic slowdown and protests in the province of Catalonia which is seeking to split from Spain, the new government has a tall task to deliver.
Romania is voting in its presidential elections on November 10th. The incumbent President Klaus Lohannis is eligible for re-elections.
5. Miscellaneous news items
Remembrance day- Each year, November 18th is marked as the end of World War 1 in 1918. The sacrifices of the soldiers and the disaster is re collected even as the world seeks to move away from wars and establish peace. An estimated 9.7 million soldiers fought in the war which also included 1.1 million Indian soldiers out of which 60,000 of them sacrificed their lives in a war they were dragged into.