Rising Bharat International News Feed: October 7th 2020

  • Relation with Japan
  1. With eye on China, India and Japan discuss strengthening of security ties and supply chains

Key points:

  1. A day after the Quad countries led by the US came down heavily on China, leaders of India and Japan Wednesday discussed the strengthening of security ties and supply chain resilience with an eye on Beijing.
  2. “Discussions covered our cooperation in manufacturing, skills, infrastructure, ICT and health. Our special partnership can make a big difference in post-COVID recovery,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.
  3. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, both ministers “reaffirmed the importance of implementing Japan-India cooperation in third countries such as ASEAN and Southwest Asian countries”. 
  4. “They emphasised that a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region must be premised on diversified and resilient supply chains; and in this context, welcomed the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative between India, Japan, Australia and other like-minded countries,” stated a press release issued by India’s external affairs ministry.

(The Print, 7 October 2020) News Link

  • India, Japan finalise key cyber-security deal to boost cooperation on 5G, AI

Key points:

  1. India and Japan have finalised an ambitious agreement on cyber-security to boost cooperation on 5G technology and critical information infrastructure, and the two countries pledged on Wednesday to work for a free and open Indo-Pacific with diversified supply chains.
  2. The proposed cyber-security agreement will promote cooperation in capacity building, research and development, and security and resilience in critical information infrastructure, 5G, internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), the external affairs ministry said.
  3. “Recognising the increasing role being played by digital technologies, the two ministers highlighted the need for robust and resilient digital and cyber systems and in this context, welcomed the finalisation of the text of the cyber-security agreement,” the ministry said.
  4. The ministers “emphasised that a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region must be premised on diversified and resilient supply chains; and in this context, welcomed the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative between India, Japan, Australia and other like-minded countries,” the ministry added.
  5. “The problems faced by Hitachi Payment Services in 2016, when malware caused the breach of financial data and comprised the data of 3.2 million debit cards in India, is one example that shows the challenge of cyber-security is a joint one and can only be tackled through joint collaboration,” he said.
  6. “Reaffirming the similarities in their respective Indo-Pacific visions, that are based on rule of law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Japanese side agreed to be the lead partner in the connectivity pillar of the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) and jointly take both countries’ respective visions for the Indo-Pacific forward,” the external affairs ministry said.

(Hindustan Times, 7 October 2020) News Link

  • QUAD
    • Quad meet: Eye on China, India seeks ‘respect for territorial integrity’

Key points:

  1. In a rare “in-person” meeting during the pandemic, the Foreign Ministers of the Quadrilateral grouping — US, India, Japan and Australia — met in Tokyo amid the five-month border standoff between India and China, with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar seeking “respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty” and “peaceful resolution of disputes”.
  2. “As vibrant and pluralistic democracies with shared values, our nations have collectively affirmed the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. We remain committed to upholding the rules-based international order, underpinned by the rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes,” Jaishankar said at the meeting.
  3. Earlier, according to the US State Department, Jaishankar and Pompeo discussed ongoing “cooperation on topics of international concern”. They “look forward to the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year,” it said.
  4. Pompeo echoed the remarks in a tweet: “Productive meeting today with Indian Minister of External Affairs @DrSJaishankar. Together we are advancing U.S.-India relations, combatting COVID-19, and ensuring a secure and prosperous Indo Pacific for all.”

(Indian Expres, 7 October 2020) News Link

  • Relation with Burma
  • India funds restoration of Myanmar pagodas; a look at some of the famous pagodas in the country

Key points:

  1. Nearly four years ago, Myanmar suffered some severe damage because of an earthquake and several ancient pagodas (religious centres housing Buddhist relics) were destroyed. Now the Indian government is helping the country with financial aid for restoration and conservation of pagodas in Myanmar that were harmed. The project is completely funded by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The restoration work was supposed to begin in January 2020, but it got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. However, the Indian government has restarted the restoration work in Myanmar now. In the first phase of the restoration work, the Archeological Survey of India will be renovating 12 pagodas in the ancient city of Bagan, also a UNESCO World Heritage City.
  3. However, the Indian government has restarted the restoration work in Myanmar now. In the first phase of the restoration work, the Archeological Survey of India will be renovating 12 pagodas in the ancient city of Bagan, also a UNESCO World Heritage City.

(Times of India , 7 October 2020) News Link

  • India’s Kachin connection in Myanmar

Key points:

  1. India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh V. Shringla and army chief General M M Naravane recently visited Myanmar to strengthen bilateral relations. According to media reports, the focus of the visit was to discuss India’s connectivity projects in Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State, and the situation of displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh.
  2. Still, both Myanmar, a third-party state that shares a border with China and India –at the Walong trijunction that remains heavily militarized and contested– and the Kachin, who are demographically scattered across India, north Myanmar, and China, have maintained a studious silence on the ongoing standoff.
  3. If full-scale military hostilities break out between India and China, especially in the eastern sector, how Myanmar responds –and equally, how armed outfits in north Myanmar, such as the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), who control pockets of territory near the trijunction, respond– will have consequences for India.
  4. Despite having its headquarters in Laiza near the China border, the KIO has demonstrated policy independence and refuses to take strategic direction from Beijing. If anything, historically, and even now, the Kachin seek stronger relations with India. But New Delhi has shied away from strengthening such a relationship out of fear of upsetting Naypyidaw, and because of a complicated history of failed outreach.
  5. But this is not the case for the Kachin, who are straddling the trijunction and have no option but to engage with Chinese and Indian forces on the ground, and their border security dynamics.
  6. According to a retired senior KIO official privy to the PLA outreach and interviewed by this author, the Kachin, though open to engaging with China, were more interested in support from democratic India – their first choice of external patron.

(Orfonline, 7 October 2020) News Link

  1. India’s rice exports could jump to record on Thailand drought effects

Key points:

  1. India’s rice exports could jump to 14 million tonnes in 2020, up from last year’s 9.9 million tonnes, the lowest in eight years, said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association.”Thailand’s shipments are falling due to the drought. Vietnam is struggling because of lower crop. That share is naturally coming to India,” Rao said.
  2. Thailand, the world’s second-largest rice exporter, suffered through a drought earlier this year that has affected the rice crop. Shipments in 2020 could fall to 6.5 million tonnes, the lowest in 20 years.
  3. India was offering 5% broken parboiled rice at $380 per tonne on a free-on-board basis, while Thailand was offering the same grade at $490 per tonne, dealers said.

(Business Standard, 7 October 2020) News Link

  • Relation with Taiwan
  • A winning partnership with India

Key points:

  1. However, in spite of the existence of several positive determinants, India-Taiwan relations continue to be characterized by underutilized potential and political inertia. The reason for this is often located within India’s alleged sensitivities toward China or an implicit support for the “one China construct.”
  2. While this outlook recognizes Taiwan as a concern within India’s “China policy,” it certainly does not convey any appreciation for Chinese designs or self-serving constructs. Moreover, India’s approach toward Taiwan is guided by its larger vision of peace, security and stability in the region, and should not be linked to any border situation with China as is being increasingly demanded by some quarters.
  3. It is within the fine print of existing strategic concerns, common national interests and mutual respect for each other’s sensitivities that a India-Taiwan partnership needs to be realized.
  4. Though the scope for a significant politico-strategic dynamic remains limited at present, India-Taiwan relations have advanced upon the constructive template of economic convergences and ideological affinities. The ideological dimension of India-Taiwan relations is underscored by the democratic ethos of their polities and societies. (Taipeitimes, 7 October 2020) News Link
  1. Great potential for growth in India-Canada agriculture trade: Tomar

Key points:

  1. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar  said this in his inaugural address at the two-day India-Canada Agri-Tech virtual seminar organised by the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Ministry of External Affairs of India.
  2. Indicating the rapid growth in agri-trade between India and Canada, Tomar said India is the fifth largest importer of Canadian vegetables and raw agricultural materials and the seventh-largest importer of leguminous vegetables, called “Vegetarian Protein”.
  3. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Government of Canada, Mary-Claude Bibeau highlighted that “Canada and India have a proud history of strong bilateral trade and collaboration in agriculture, with a vibrant trading relationship in agriculture and agri-food, valued at over USD 1.5 billion”, the statement added. PTI MJH BAL BAL (Outlook India, 7 October, 2020) News Link
  1. Annual India-Russia summit may be deferred amid covid-19

Key points:

  1. The annual India-Russia summit that was expected to be hosted by India this year is unlikely to happen given the covid-19 pandemic situation in the country
  2. In 2000, India and Russia had agreed to hold annual bilateral summits alternatively in the two countries. It was expected that Putin will travel to India this year for the summit but the surge in the number of covid-19 cases in India seems to have postponed the visit for now. India has recorded more than six million cases and crossed 100,000 deaths last week due to covid-19.
  3. During his conversation with Putin, Modi “appreciated the personal role that the latter (Putin) has played in nurturing the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two nations,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said.
  4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday for his 68th birthday, “expressed his keenness to welcome President Putin in India, as soon as possible after the normalisation of the public health situation,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said. “Both leaders agreed to remain in touch over the coming days, including on the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic,” it said.

(Live Mint, 7 October, 2020) News Link

  1. UK-India economic ties: Deeper cooperation can accelerate govt’s aim of self-reliant India

Key points:

  1. During the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed that India awaits the partnership of the global business community in its efforts towards an atmanirbhar (self-reliant) Bharat. This reinforced my belief that deeper UK-India economic cooperation would accelerate the government’s aim of a self-reliant India, while bringing benefits to the UK as well.
  2. Linked by our shared past and a set of common democratic values, but more forcefully by our shared ambitions of an exciting future, India and the UK are two great allies and very close and significant economic partners.
  3. India is the second largest investor into the UK, behind only the US. At the same time, the UK has been the second fastest growing G20 investor into India in the last decade. Trade between the two countries rose by nearly 10% (to £24 billion) in 2019—much faster than the growth in global trade. Indeed, the Indian government understands the importance of global economic inter-linkages, made clear by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s insistence that atmanirbhar Bharat means “integration, not isolation.”
  4. In manufacturing, the UK already has a great presence in India, with the likes of Perkins Engines, JCB, BAE Systems, GlaxoSmithKline and Rolls-Royce well established. The UK’s rich research and development ecosystem, coupled with the desire of UK businesses—from SMEs to large conglomerates—to enter and expand in India, is a recipe for further success. At the same time, Indian businesses like Tata, TVS and many others are simultaneously establishing and expanding in the UK. (Financial Express,7 October 2020) News Link
  • Relation with US
  1. Donald Trump announces new US H-1B visa rules, Indian techies likely to be hit

Key points:

  1. The United States Administration of President Donald Trump has announced a tightening of rules for immigration visas used widely by the technology firms, claiming the ”new system would be better for American workers”.
  2. The Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday the new regulations for so-called H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, which allow up to 85,000 immigrants annually.
  3. The move to cut back H-1B visas for foreign skilled workers and tighten wage-based entry barriers citing “data” that more than 500,000 Americans have lost their jobs because of “H1B non-immigrants” is likely to affect the Indian techies the most
  4. India and China account for the lion`s share of H-1B visas. As per US government data, India accounts for upwards of 70 per cent, most years. In a call with reporters, Acting Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said about one-third of the people who have applied for H-1B visas would be denied under the new rules.
  5. The DOL rule will raise the four salary tiers for employees on H1Bs and other professional visas, which currently begin at the 17th percentiles for each industry, to the 45th percentile.

(Zee News, 7 October 2020) News Link

  1. On the boil: Pakistan, India tussle over basmati rice origin

Key points:

  1. Pakistan on Monday said it would give a “befitting reply” to, and oppose, India’s move to geographically label basmati rice and grain as its own in the EU.
  2. Developing countries are increasingly using geographic labeling to boost the value of products ranging from carpets to rice, raising rural incomes and protecting farmland.
  3. A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographic origin, which gives them certain qualities or a reputation, such as Champagne and Darjeeling tea
  4. India applied for a GI for basmati rice last month. In a meeting chaired by commerce adviser Abdul Razak Dawood on Monday, Pakistan announced it would oppose India’s application.
  5. It now has under three months to respond to the Indian application and file a counter application with the EU. The country’s rice exporters face the risk of losing a substantial European market if India succeeds in the geographical labeling, exporters said.

(Arab News, 7 October 2020) News Link

  • Twitter user asked Gautam Gambhir if he is anti-Pakistan. Here’s what he said

Key points:

  1. A user on Twitter asked cricketer Gautam Gambhir why he is so anti-Pakistan. “I’m not! I don’t think any Indian is,” Gambhir responded to the user and wrote, “when we have to choose between the lives of our soldiers and anything else, we are all on the same side.”

(Hindustan Times, 7 October 2020) News Link

  • India Pakistan trade gunfire along LoC in north Kashmir

Key points:

  1. The armies of India and Pakistan on Wednesday morning traded gunfire in Hajipeer sector of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, reported a local news agency, Global News Service (GNS).
  2. In a statement issued to GNS, Defence Spokesperson Rajesh Kalia said that the “Pakistani Rangers resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing mortars and other weapons”, which as per the statement was given “befitting response.”
  3. “Pakistani rangers violated ceasefire and targeted the forward post of Indian army along the line of control (LoC) areas,” the statement read.
  4. “However no loss of life or damage to property has been reported so far,” the statement reads.

(The Kashmir Walla, 7 October 2020) News Link

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