Indian foreign policy is dynamic in nature and is fully capable of dealing with challenges around the world that affect its national interest. What’s up this week that can have a bearing on the Indian foreign policy establishment? Let us have a look:
Indian Foreign Policy
1. External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar has commenced his visit to Italy. He met a cross section of Members of Parliament and held discussions on important matters of bilateral and multilateral interest. Both sides agreed to maintain high level contacts and take the relations forward.
He also met his Israeli and Slovenian counterparts in Rome and exchanged views regarding the current state of relations.
2. The Lithuanian Foreign Secretary Laimonas Talat-Kelpsa is on a visit to India and has expressed hope that PM Narendra Modi will visit the Baltic nation.
3. The Union Cabinet has given its nod to introduce the Personal Data Protection Bill in the parliament in this Winter session. Many tech, financial and e-commerce companies were opposed to the draft bill prepared by the Justice Srikrishna Committee report in 2018.
4. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act will be introduced in the Parliament on Monday. This legislation seeks to give citizenship to the persecuted members of the minority community belonging to Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhist, Sikhs and Zoroastrians from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It also seeks to cancel the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) status of those who commit crimes against India.
5. Maldives has indicated that it will restructure its loans with China and re consider certain projects that are pointless. The Foreign Minister also reiterated the “India First” policy of the island nation.
6. Indian Army will be training the Japanese armed forces in counter-terrorism even as Japan gears up to host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
7. Nepal has called for a Foreign Secretary level dialogue to resolve the Kalapani border dispute issue. This matter has been an emotive one in Nepal, ever since India published new maps which showed the territory as a part of India.
8. The Embassy of Afghanistan has raised the issue of the newly released Movie “Panipat” and the portrayal of Ahmad Shah Abdali (founder of modern day Afghanistan) and has warned that this can lead to deterioration in people to people ties between the two friendly countries.
1. The first round of the resurrected talks between the US and Taliban have begun in the Qatari capital of Doha. The terror group continues to attack Afghanistan and is generously supported by Pakistan and its notorious intelligence agency, Inter Service Intelligence (ISI). President Trump had stalled the talks in September when the terror group carried out an attack on US forces stationed in the landlocked nation.
India has maintained that these talks have to be Afghan led and according to their interest.
Inside the “Middle Kingdom”
Various media reports suggest that the loss in Hong Kong of pro-Beijing candidates in the District Council Elections has rattled the top brass of the Chinese Communist Party with many questioning the leadership of President Xi Jinping. These protests threaten to severe the city’s connection with the main land and inspire protests in nearby areas too.
Adding to the trouble, the US congress overwhelmingly approved the Uighur Act that requires the US President to condemn Chinese officials for their acts of human rights violations and censure them including applying sanctions. China has weakly threatened a retaliation.
Australia has been rocked by allegations made by a former Chinese spy that some Parliamentarians are on the pay roll of the Chinese. This has led to a backlash and Chinese mis-adventures are being openly exposed.
The middle kingdom is clearly shrinking in its influence and the dragon is clearly losing its fire.
Developments in Europe
1. Britain votes on December 12th to select its new government. Prime Minister Boris Johnson from the Conservative party is seeking another term after having successfully negotiated a BREXIT deal with the EU. The opposition Labour party is marginally leading in opinion polls; however, the party has been dealing with issues related to its support to anti-Semitic, anti-Indian, apparent support to certain terror groups and for not having a clear stand on BREXIT.
The party is being termed as a Pakistani party, as it has been effectively infiltrated by elements close to the notorious ISI. These issues will affect its chances in the upcoming polls.
2. France has been paralyzed by strikes organized by various labour unions. The transport sector strike has brought the nation to a standstill. The protests by the Yellow Vests has triggered violence in certain parts of the nation. These protests are being organized against the government’s move to create a single, unified pension system and concerns that it may lead to an increase in the working age. At the moment, there are more that 40 pension systems with differing retirement ages and amounts.
1. December 10 is celebrated as the World Human Rights Day.
2. India will be observing the 18th anniversary of the attack on its parliament that took place in 2001. The group Jaish-e-Mohammad which was behind the attack is supported by Pakistan and it still is allowed to organise attacks on India. They recently organized the Pulwama suicide attack.