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Myanmar Coup, Topic of concern for India?

Southeast Asia staggered on the first day of February after Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested along with other key officials of her governing party in a morning military raid calling the November 2020 elections “fraudulent. The internet links and communication networks were shut down and interrupted while the state broadcaster MRTV said it had technical difficulties and was out of the air. Now, all eyes are on Myanmar’s powerful military leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, as he seizes power.
After the arrest of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior members of her ruling party, the National Democracy League, Myanmar’s military took control (NLD). The top military commander, declaring a one-year state of emergency on military TV, has grasped all authority under his influence and declared a one-year takeover of the country in times of national emergency. This comes a decade after the army decided in 2011 to hand power over to a transitional government.

Who is Aung Sang suu Kyi?

In 1948, Myanmar, also known as Burma, achieved independence from British colonial rule and was controlled by military regimes until 2011. It was the democratic reforms led by Aung San Suu Kyi that ended the country’s military rule. In the November 2020 election, the NLD won 83 percent of the available seats. Many saw it as a referendum on the civilian government of Suu Kyi. It was only the second of its kind since the end of military rule in 2011, but before threatening a coup, the military disrupted the results several times, and so it did.
She has been awarded noble peace prize in 1991,as she was once seen as a phare for human rights. She is the daughter of General Aung San, Myanmar’s independence hero. Her leadership has come to light in recent years, when the persecution of the country’s largely Muslim Rohingya minority by the military crackdown triggered by deadly attacks on police stations in Rakhine state was a major concern for the international community.
As a result, Aung San Suu Kyi was condemned and accused of doing little to avoid rape, assassination and possible genocide by refusing to condemn the military or accept the accounts of the atrocities. Nevertheless, she is also known as “the Lady” and is famous and admired among the majority ofBuddhistcountries.

The ramification of military coup

The coup sent a tremor of fear throughout the country, which had been under the domination of autocratic military regimes for almost 50 years before moving towards democratic rule in 2011. The early morning arrests of State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians reflectedthe days many wanted to be left behind. The coup came after a landslide win in Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy elections in November 2020. (NLD). State Counsellor Suu Kyi and her NLD party have been leading the nation for the past five years after being elected in the first elections held in the country in 2011, then again with the freest and fairest votes in 2015.
if the incident had not taken place on Monday morning, the party was to begin its second term in office. However, as developments started, Myanmar’s leader urged its supporters to “not accept this” and to “protest against the coup.” In a letter she says that the military moves are bringing the country back under dictatorship.
Though backstage, the army is almost squeezing Myanmar tightly. Thanks to the contentious 2008 constitution framed during the Junta Rule, the military in Myanmar has considerable sway over the nation. A law that not only guarantees a quarter of parliamentary seats for the military, but also controls the most important main ministries in the country, including home affairs, defense and border affairs. The military would still maintain some power over the population, government and the nation until the constitution remains the same.

India’s stand?

As a member in the UN Security Council, India is interested in the Myanmar problem. India had expressed apprehension within a little while after the coup and said that the rule of law and the self-governing mechanism must be upheld and defended. Though India has spoken deeply about Myanmar’s recent development, cutting off from the Myanmar army is not a viable option because in Myanmar and its neighborhood, India has significant economic and strategic advantages.
In a state where the consequences of democracy have been scripted by military leadership, tensions are most likely to prevail. In such situations, the mark is constantly missed by internal powers and geopolitics in order to daunt its actions and to whim to govern. It is possible that when democracy in a country is threatened, India will feel concerned. But the nation must be true to its non-intervention policy in the internal matters of another state. Keeping in mind the country’s national interests, India must perceptively represent its ideals, values, interests and geopolitical realities.

China in the scene?

While India enunciated its concern for Myanmar,An enigmatic and hushed tone was sponsored by a communist party dominating autocratic China, another neighbor of Myanmar. It did not censure or show any concern.
Myanmar’s geopolitical tactical role provides a passage between South Asia and Southeast Asia, and for its political, diplomatic and strategic advantages, India needs a decent working bond with the Myanmar government regime. Specifically, this is due to the despicable projects in Myanmar by China, which wants to establish it as a geopolitical base against India. And so, despite the military junta’s administration of Myanmar over the eons, India has formed close relations and shares a strong bond with Tatmadaw. India handed over INS Sindhuvir, a submarine, to the Myanmar Merchant navy last year, notwithstanding its own frontal dearth.Tatmadaw reacted well to Indian methods and even enabled India to coordinate counter-interagency operations in Myanmar against Indian insurgent groups.But China has its own plans and ambitions to use Myanmar as one more base in its ‘String of Pearl’ tactics, which means encircling India by establishing military bases in its neighboring nation-states.
The first step of the strategy is to burden Myanmar with China’s debt trap. Of Myanmar’s overall direct foreign investment, China accounts for more than 25 percent. As the second largest investor in Myanmar after Singapore, China has invested $21.5 billion in Myanmar and accounts for one-third of all trade in Myanmar.

Under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), China is financing and constructing several projects in Myanmar that can be used as military bases in the future. These infrastructure projects have trapped Myanmar in a huge Chinese debt trap and account for more than 40% of the total national debt of $10 billion.
But China saw its own Myanmar designs backstage with the Myanmar. as government has recently halted and cancelled BRI projects which has created some big-ticket projects with India, such as the India Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Network and the proposed Special Economic Zone at the deep water port of Sittwe.
This strategically conceived capture of India’s neighboring countries presents a threat to the stability and defence of India. In order to secure and make progress in search of future interest, India must play adroitly with China.

By Aditya Mishra.

A globalized government for a globalized world

21st century is the age of globalization. It is not possible for any nation to survive on its own, secluded from the rest, no matter how powerful it is. Every nation in the world today is interdependent. Territorial boundaries have failed to counter this intermixing among nationals of different countries. In this century language is not a barrier anymore. People all over the world are celebrating the same festivals, eating the same food, listening to same music, dressing similarly. National boundaries do not hold any relevance in this era. In such a context, dividing ourselves on the basis of something as pointless and trivial like nationality does not serve any purpose. It is high time that we unite ourselves as a species and surrender a part of our sovereignty to an all-encompassing body like a world government. Our species is on the verge of an existential crisis. We are in the middle of a now or never situation. Religion, ethnicity cannot save us from the massacre. It is time to concentrate on the bigger picture
The concept of a world government.
World government is a concept “of a common political authority for all of humanity, yielding a global government and a single state that exercises authority over the entire Earth”. This notion of a world government is not that new. We find this idea in a much subtler form in the works of great thinkers like Dante, Francisco de Vitoria, Hugo Grotius, Immanuel Kant etc. Karl Marx also envisioned a stateless society as the ultimate goal of communism. All these thinkers were farsighted enough to apprehend the threat associated with a system where states are divided on the basis of abstract and incoherent ideas like nationality. The two world wars have proved how unerring they were. Our civilization has advanced enough to opt for an all-encompassing world body- a world government. Nation states divided on the basis of ethnicity, culture, religion or language really does not hold any relevance in this modern world.

Globalization's Government Turns 10 – Foreign Policy

The need for a world government.

The 21st century is inflicted with just too many problems. Climate change, refugee crisis, terrorist activities, civil war across so many countries are just to name a few. The world is getting too complex. With each passing day newer kinds of problem are cropping up which have never been experienced before. Nation states are not just equipped enough to tackle the problems. The humanitarian crisis of this new age is far too tangled.
Poor states in Africa like Congo, Liberia etc depend entirely on world bodies like United Nation to provide them with the minimal funds required for survival. They are not even in a position to provide their citizens with the basic minimum necessities. These states are poverty ridden and are inflicted with all kinds of humanitarian problem. Without enough food and money, the inhabitants of these regions areforced to involve themselves with terrorist groups to survive. Terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,Ansar al-Sharia (Libya),Ansar al-Sharia (Tunisia) etc   are using the problem of acute poverty in this region to carry on their agenda. These groups are not only a menace for the African countries but for the whole world. A joint, concentrated effort is required to curb their influence. Action by just one country won’t be sufficient. A strenuous effort by a strong unified body is exactly what is needed.
Terrorism is a problem not only in this part of the world. The middle west of the Asian continent has also fallen a prey to terrorism. In the last 5 years the ISIS (Islamic state of Iraq and Syria) which had its birth in this region, has literally ravaged Syria and Iraq. The world saw another ethnic cleansing, this time of the Yazidi tribe. Some of the states in the world instead of combating the terrorist organization had kept on using them for their own gains. State sponsored terrorism is a new trend of the 21st century.  There is no world authority to check on the activities of the states that they have been pursuing in the name of their own internal security. Innocent lives are lost in such proxy wars.
The developing and the underdeveloped countries of the world are being economically exploited by the developed countries of the world. Their resource, labour force have been wringed by the economically dominant countries. The presence of a world body is urgent under such circumstances in order to protect the economic interest of the weaker states.
Human rights violation is another major problem of the modern era. In the absence of an uniform, legally binding,codified fundamental human rights, the interest and the basic rights of citizen in many parts of the world are violated. In countries like North Korea, Myanmar, Sudan, Libya(etc) basic human right are violated to such an extent that they have been normalized. Economically powerful countries like China are not lagging too far behind in the list. The ethnic cleansing of Uyghrmuslims pursued by the Chinese government is shameful and condemnable. A uniform and codified human rights bill which will be legally binding on all the countries of the world can be the only solution to this problem.
The refugee crisis is another grave problem that needs to be tackled. Refugee children are losing their childhood, with their future also at stake. Except a few countries, no states are ready to take the refugees in, for their own security concerns. Syrian refugee crisis, Rohingya refugee crisis are just to name a few. Such stateless persons have no place to live in a territorially divided world. Their only hope is a world without any national boundaries. That might give them a chance to live and survive even after not possessing a country specific citizenship.
The greatest and the most critical problem of the 21st century are climate change and global warming. Our whole existence is at stake. If under such circumstances we are unable to work together as a unified whole, it is really difficult to say how long our species will survive in this planet. If we continue to give more significance to myopic issues like nationality or ethnicity, then it will just be a matter of few decades for our species to get extinct from the face of earth. And not just our species, the very life of this planet is threatened. No trace of urgency regarding this issue can be noticed among any statesmen in the world.  Some are busy constructing walls, while some are busy building statues with no concern whatsoever. An united effort on the part of states has been successful once. The Montreal Protocol implemented in almost all the countries of the world had successfully managed to counter the problem of ozone depletion. And on the same page the Kyoto protocol failed, as many states backed out. The Paris Agreement of 2015 is going for a similar fate, as countries like United States have withdrawn from the deal. All these unsuccessful agreements lack one essential component. They are not legally binding. Countries are free to walk out of the deal whenever they feel like it.  Acountry specific perspective to reduce greenhouse emission, as the Paris Agreement envisioned,  can never solve the problem of environmental crisis.This is why it is so important and urgent to form a body with the authority to make legally binding decisions, which all the states will be bound to follow and cannot just walk out at their own free will. We really need to act before it is too late.

A hypothetical structure of the World Government.

The idea of a World Government would have been considered as a utopia just a few decades back. But our experiences have made one fact crystal clear- the dire need of a World Body. Attempts were made after the 1st world war to create such a supranational body called the League of Nations. This body was weak and lacked authority. Great power like the United States did not join this body. The league was actually created to seek revenge on Germany and its partner states. The member states were just not ready to commit to the principles of internationalism. Negative nationalism was still very much alive among the states. As a result, one states after another walked out from the body gradually, which ultimately led to the fall of the League of Nations.
The world saw an unprecedented level of barbarism in the 2nd world war. The United Nations was formally created on 24th October, 1945 “to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: take collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace” (Article 1, United Nations Charter)
The United Nations is the closest thing we have to a World Government in a very loose sense of the term.
From its inception the organization has been used by the major powers in the world to serve their own specific interest. Though the United Nations was formed on the principles of mutual respect and the equal right of every member to take part in the decision making process, the reality shows something very different.
The General Assembly considered to be the legislative organ of the UN,lack the very power to take decisions on any matter. It is just a deliberative body meant for discussions and debates. The real power lies with the Security Council, in the hands of its five permanent members. They have the authority to make decision in practically every matter of international concern. It won’t be any exaggeration to state that the other agencies of the UN functions in tune with the Security Council. This biased character of the organization thwarts it from achieving its ultimate aim of international peace. Moreover like its predecessor League of Nations, United Nations lacks authority in real sense of the term. Its decisions are not legally binding, member states can walk out at their own free will, stop sending funds or can just ignore the decisions of the UN in accordance to their own interest.

A Reformed United Nations

The most essential thing that is required to be done at the very outset is to ameliorate this world body. The very essence of the UN, its charter should be made legally binding over all the member states. This reformed United Nation would be a federation of states, where member states would be partner to an indestructible union. They cannot just walk out of the organization at their own sweet will. In order to give legitimacy and authority to this body, a part of the sovereignty of the states is required to be surrendered to achieve something much more extensive. A uniform Human Rights code should be formulated. Every states should contrive their laws in tune with the Human Rights code. In a similar way a uniform environmental policy should be engineered that would be legally binding on every single states of the world.
The agencies of the UN especially the General Assembly should be granted greater autonomy. Each and every state of the world should have the right to vote and make decisions. It should not just function as a deliberative body but like a legislative organ in the real sense of the term. The Security Council should be completely done away with to free the organization from its biased character. All executive functions should be vested on the Secretariat. The principle of equal representation should be followed, where each and every state would possess equal rights no matter how economically powerful a state might be. The interpretation and the judgments delivered by the International Court of Justice  must be legally binding over all the states. The trusteeship council should be reinstated again to make poverty ridden and war ravaged states self- sufficient and to provide its citizens with a basic standard of living. But these states should be under the direct patronage of the United Nations not under the care of any other states, as the case had been with the functioning of the former trusteeship council. To solve the problem of funding, it should be made mandatory for every nation to endow the organization with a certain amount of finance that would further be determined in accordance with the GDP of the states. This funding should be made compulsory. To give the organization a democratic character, the Secretary General should be elected. But having a direct election to the office of the secretary general on a world scale is next to impossible. Indirect election to the office can be a solution to this problem. Moreover, a direct election would make it the most powerful office in the world. The power of the Secretary General would be unchallenging. Authoritative tendency might gain ground. To counter this problem, the judicial organ must be given a greater authority over all the agencies. A government without army is a body without teeth. The United Nations should recruit the army for peace keeping purposes, on its own, instead of being depended on its member states.

Conclusion

The formation of such a world body is really a difficult task. Keeping in mind how identities like religion, race and ethnicity still plays a vital role in world politics. Bloody wars are still being fought over identity issues like religion or nationality. But we have to understand that as a species we are much more than that. We should stop identifying ourselves on the basis of our ethnicity or nationality. At the end of the day we all are the same, sharing the same fate. We should rise above these petty matters, to aim for something bigger and extensive. We need to be aware of the fact that such identities are artificial construct which does not hold any good. Instead they have been the reason of numerous wars. The only identity we need to be aware of, is our identity as a human being. This is the only thing that matters. We need to act unitedly against the humanitarian and the environmental crisis that the world is currently facing. And what better way than to act jointly under one single government free from all kind of prejudices. It’s true that such a world order still needs a few more decades to come into existence. But preparations for that order should be initiated immediately. We need to start acting before it gets too late, before identity and environmental crisis pushes us on the verge of extinction. For the sake of our survival we need to act jointly . Just as the old saying goes, “united we stand, divided we fall.”
By AnondeetaChakraborty

Afghanistan :- A Cultural And Historical Background

AFGHANISTAN :- A CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

“I dream of a day, while retaining our national identities, one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul. That is how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live”

Former Prime Minister – Manmohan Singh

 

   1.ABSTRACT

 
Each country needs economic cooperation and political stability and a foothold in the international system where it has a say and is recognised for a straightforward reason: progress for the country in all spheres – economic, political, human development, infrastructure, education etc. There are many forces which come into play when one talks about Afghanistan as a region, the geopolitical factors; the relation between the Islamic world and the west; mutual relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan; the role of illegal rise of the economy through drug cartels and above all aspirations of citizens of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a place that has been tossed by unrest for over three decades.1 It has been used as a battleground for many conflicts. There are many forces which come into play when one talks about Afghanistan as a region, the geopolitical location, the relation between the Islamic world and the west and the role of illegal rise of the economy. But away from the international system Afghanistan has different ethnic groups and minorities, which leads to a twisted war other than the Soviet Invasion or the US invasion or first and the second Anglo-Afghan war.
 

2.  INTRODUCTION

The Afghan state was made by the opponent pioneer powers, British-India and the former Soviet Union. Afghanistan borders have existed for the past century as a territory which has
[1 Role of NATO after 2014 in Afghanistan. https://www.studentsummit.cz/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/PSS-Role-of-NATO-after-2014-in- Afghanistan.pdf ]
visited shifting empires from one time to another, with Persian, Central Asia, the India Subcontinent and the Middle East which thus makes this country interesting. One can rebuild its history and its interesting intermingling of empires and ethnic groups which have been lost due to the long trodden war since 1979 (invasion of Soviet Union). The Afghan nationalism occasionally bloomed with stories of empires’ defeat in humiliation who tried their luck against the Afghans.
 
Violence has always been a part3 of the Afghan way of life. There is no single cause of violence in Afghanistan. Suppose one looks at the religion in Afghanistan. In that case, one sees a majority of Muslims and that the significant part of the population that adheres to Islam espouses Sunni Muslim. Shias who can be differentiated from Sunnis based on Mohammed’s appropriate succession are a very definite minority in Afghanistan.

 

The script of Afghan’s area all written in Pashtunwali, which becomes a barrier and followed by this Pashtuns claim that Afghanistan is of Pashtuns with a vital nationalism element from them. Afghanistan’s national anthem perceives 14 ethnic groupings among the nations 27 million individuals:- Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Balochis, Turkmens, Nooristanis, Pamiris, Arabs, Gujars, Brahuis, Qizilibash, Aimaq and Pashai.
 

3. GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Afghanistan geological landforms divide and reinforce separation amongst the Afghan people. Afghanistan mountains divide the country into four distinct zones that support different types of economic livelihood, including agriculture. Within each zone, the terrain is highly compartmentalized, which makes travelling, contacts with other people and political, social unity are difficult. Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain dominates the cater of the country and is one of the most prominent features.
The country’s watershed and water system have sustained for distinct regions: Herat in the west, Kandahar in the south, Mazar-i-Sharif in the north and Kabul-Peshawar area in the east.

[3
Booker: ‘Right-Wing Extremists…Behind the Majority of    https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/cnsnewscom-staff/booker-right-wing-2 Shinwari, S. (2012), “The Importance of Durand Line Recognition”, The Khaama Press News Agency, Available at – https://www.khaama.com/the-importance-of-durand-line-recognition-313/
extremists-behind-majority-terrorist-attacks-country ]
The area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (Durand Line) opposite Peshawar and the north-west frontier province (NWFP) constitutes the fifth region.

  1. Herat – The west region, with its major city of Herat is located next to the Iranian border and exhibits Iranian cultural influences. It is arid and draws sustenance from the Harirud River that flows through the lowlands from the mountainous source. Sunni and Shi’a Persian speaking ethnic groups make up the population, these people have historical ties to the silk route joining China and Iran, Both international trade and agriculture have ensured the regions survival.

 

  1. Kandahar – Helmand river is the main attraction in the southern region of Afghanistan that is Kandahar. Vastly wheat, fruits and opium (illegal product for trade) are grown here. The region is dominated by desert and inhabited only by nomadic tribes. The regions dominant ethnic group is Pashtun. The city of Kandahar serves as a major trade centre for goods moving between India towards Kabul.

 

  1. Mazar-i-Sharif – Mazar-i-sharif is the forth largest city in Afghanistan. Its border touches with Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. It is held sacred as the alleged burial place of Ali , son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad a noted mosque of Ali is in the city. During the Afghanistan War , the city was an important link on the line of defences guarding the strategic road between Kabul and Termez in Soviet Uzbekistan, and in the subsequent civil war it was the key to the control of Northern Afghanistan and the defence of Kabul. Mazār-e Sharīf is located in one of Afghanistan’s most fertile regions, extensively irrigated by the Balkh River and produces cotton, grain, and fruit. The town’s industries include flour milling and the manufacturing of silk and cotton textiles. The base at Mazar-e-Sharif is home to the Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps, responsible for providing security to most of northern Afghanistan, including Kunduz province – which has seen heavy recent fighting.

 
[ Available at – https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_world-regional-geography-people-places-and-globalization/s11-07-central-asia-and- afghanistan.html  ]
 

  1. Kabul – Kabul is the capital and the largest city of Afghanistan. It lies along the Kabul River in the east central part of the country. In the 13th century the Mongol invader Genghis Khan inflicted considerable damage on the city. Kabul was the capital (1504–26) of the Mughal dynasty, under Babur,  and  it  remained  under  Mughal  rule  until   1738,   when Nadir Shah of Iran took it. And since 1776 Kabul has been the capital.

Afghanistan is predominantly a mountainous desert which has been considered as an extension of the Iranian plateau. The Hindu Kush range separates the north from the south, 200km long from the Iranian border and extended up to the extreme north east. North and northeast Afghanistan feature high mountain pass that flows into central Asia’s steppes, granting access to Pakistan and India to the east. The northern portion of Afghanistan connects to Turkmenistan.
Afghanistan borders have existed for the past century as a territory that has witnessed shifting empires from one time to another, with Persian, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, thus making this country’s history interesting. One can rebuild its history and its exciting intermingling of empires and ethnic groups which have been lost due to the long- trodden war since 1979 (invasion of Soviet Union). The Afghan nationalism occasionally bloomed with stories of empires’ defeat in humiliation who tried their luck against the Afghans.
 

5. THE ETHNIC GROUPS

In 1992, Minority Rights Group published a report in the form of a book named – Afghanistan: A nation of minorities that stated that there is no ethnic group that makes half of the population.
Ethnic group was first used as Groupe Ethnique by a French anthropologist DOLLOT. Till 19th century the term ethnic group did not exist, thanks to the foreign academicians. They started dividing the people within the country based on sect, language, culture and geography.
One of the astonishing facts is that the ethnic groups which exist, neither of them have separatist aspirations, nor do they have contention over resources. There are a couple of uniting factors between the groups which can bridge to good governance in a fragile democracy, but the dividing factor sets in with the linguistic issues. This patchwork of ethnicity in the country which hampers the ethnic unity and a uniform national culture can act as a bridge rather than a barrier.
 
Ethnicity is an unavoidable factor in Afghanistan, just like in India, and also the common factor is that they all seek security and governance. If the country wants to get rid of the ethnic trap, they need to address rational ethnic representation in fragile democracy and eliminate de- politicization of ethnicity. The divide is between the North, and South Afghanistan that is north is linked with Central Asia and south is linked with Afghanistan, NWFP and Baluchistan.
Afghanistan is a country made up of numerous ethnic groups. These groups, throughout time, have used violence to achieve their goals.5 There are three main factors which can be put forward for the complications which prevail in the country. 1. Family loyalties, or religious and ethnic issues or local and national politics or cultural matters. 2. The second factor that causes violence includes geography, regional influences, historical effects, ethnic factors, governmental considerations, illegal drug trade, economic and education matters. 3. The third factor is the impact of the Taliban which infuses in nearly all aspects of Afghan life. The Taliban incite religious and cultural motivations for violence. The Afghan propensity to use violence has impacted this country throughout history.
 
With the ethnic tension and fluid boundaries, there has been no policy, plan, or proposal that can address any single group. Ethnic violations have always played a significant role in the country ever since the inception of Afghanistan’s modern state. In 2001 Bonn conference it was highlighted that the country should be multi-ethnic.
dynamics of ethnic groups work differently. Ethnicity is very divisive, hard to deal. They collapse if there is no central government. They are very descriptive. The country at the crossroads had never been able to evolve a strong, powerful, and centralized state, equal to other Islamic empires of Safavid, Ottomans, or the Fatimids. In the absence of a structured state system, the internal power struggle within various Afghan ethnic and linguistic groups aimed at creating their alternative state institution, through violence and the militarization of their respective groups.6
 
There is no single group which has represented more than 50 per cent of the population, even though the largest group, the Pashtuns, has tended to play a dominant role.
From the perspective of identity, it is difficult to determine whether men or women have been under the majority category. Men have likely to have died in the conflicts of the past 22 years than women. Whereas, women are generally acknowledged as being disadvantaged within society.
 
The ethnic footing is only in the eyes of foreigners, but it’s a standard differentiated group for them. For instance:- A Pashtun person wants to join the Taliban, it’s okay for them, as each one of them wants representation. To apply in simple terms in IR theory – “Man is a social animal and looks for his own interest” – Aristotle.
 
Ethnic groups in Afghanistan are not subjected to one region and in many cases, overlap, weaving a colourful tapestry of a multitude of languages and cultures that in many ways the intricate pattern of the Afghan rug. Afghanistan is home to dozens of ethnic groups such as Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmens, Hazaras, Aimaqs, Kyrgyz, Arabs, Pamirs, Qizilbashs, Balochs, Pashais and Nooristanis. However, there are four primary groups:- Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks/Turks and Hazaras.7
 
[  5 ETHNIC VIOLENCE, IMPACT ON AFGHANISTAN. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a559961.pdf

6
Beyond the TAPI Project: An Afghan Factor in India    https://studies.aljazeera.net/ar/node/15785 ETHNIC VIOLENCE, IMPACT ON AFGHANISTAN. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a559961.pdf
 
7 Afghanistan: The Rise of Ethnic Consciousness Through History. https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/bitstream/handle/document/43832/ssoar- 2015-ali-Afghanistan_the_rise_of_ethnic.pdf?sequence=1   ]

 

  1. Pashtuns – (the dominant ethnic group)

Pashtuns as a group are more in Pakistan, which leads to more cross border movement. The original Pashtun region goes down till the Indus river and till Karachi, which makes half of Pakistan. They speak Pashto, and in Kabul, they speak Dari. The Pashtuns demanded a separate nation during the creation of Pakistan, but that would have meant that the Pashtuns in Afghans would have been in the minority. The Pashtun ethnic tribes are organized into smaller groups of clans – Durrani, Ghilzais, Gurghust and Karlanri. Historically, Pashtuns have been the most influential ethnic group. In the 18th century, they were handed the reigns of leadership by the British for the Kingdom of Afghanistan. This was when Abdul Khan of Kandahar established the Durrani Empire.
 
During the 1890s the Pashtuns were deployed in the northern region. Under the reign of Abdur Rahmon, there was a movement of ethnic cleansing of Hazaras. They were chopped off, or they were sold into slavery. Till date, the leadership is in the hands of this group except for – Habibullah Kalakani (1929) and Burhanuddin Rabbani (1996-2001).
 

  1. Tajiks – Tajiks are basically the merchant class who are the second largest group. Approximately 30% of the Afghan population. Tajiks are a Persian-speaking Sunni nontribal group. Tajiks make up a large portion of Kabul’s population. They are historically engaged in the work of merchants, bureaucrats and educated clergy. This group has maintained powerful roles, no matter who is in control of the government. Tajik has been used to describe Dari-

 
speakers, individuals of Persian heritage, and settled people. 8 With the emergence of few leaders in 20th and 21st century like – Ahmad Shah Masood, Burhanuddin Rabbani (President
– 1992 -1996), Abdullah Abdullah and Amrullah Saleh the status quo changed. Tajiks eventually demanded more rights and they were a big part of the creation of the modern state Afghanistan.
 

  1. Turks/Uzbeks – Uzbeks are a Turkic people that dwell in the northern plains of Afghanistan. Uzbeks are estimated to be 8% of the population.9 A good portion of Uzbeks fled Afghanistan during the Russian conquest of Central Asia.

 

  1. Hazaras – Hazaras are a Mongoloid people from Central Afghanistan that comprises 7% of the population. They are unarguably the most persecuted and marginalized group in Afghanistan. Unlike most Afghans, they are Shia Muslims. A majority is Imami Shia while minority is Ismaili Shia.10

 
Under Emir Abdur Rahmon their land was taken away and distributed to Pashtuns. They also had harsh taxes imposed on them. When the Hazaras revolted, the Emir brutally massacred them and sold the remaining population into slavery. Until 1919, the Hazaras were legally slaves. Till this day, anti- Hazara sentiment continues. Under the Taliban rule, they were singled out and murdered, most notably in the massacre of Mazar-e-sharif in 1998.* Although Afghanistan has developed since then, this sentiment has risen again as Hazara specific attacks have increased.11
Other than these four main groups there are several groups of which there is less track and less literature.
 
[9 Ibid8 Afghanistan: The Rise of Ethnic Consciousness Through History. https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/bitstream/handle/document/43832/ssoar- 2015-ali-Afghanistan_the_rise_of_ethnic.pdf?sequence=1
10 Ibid]
 

  • Kuchis – Kuchis are Afghan nomads, generally wanderers and nomads who does not have a place to live. They move for substance of their living.
  • Aimaq – the Aimaq make up more or less 4% of the Afghan populace and live essentially on the steppe land in north-western Afghanistan.  

    6. IMPACT OF ETHNIC GROUPS

    The Afghan problem did not start with the emergence of the Taliban or the U.S. invasion; it can be traced to two major, historical events that date back centuries.
     
    In 1499, Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama discovered a sea route to India, which meant the region now known as Afghanistan – once a connecting point between Central Asia and the west – lost its commercial importance. The second event came in 1893 when British India annexed a large portion of Afghanistan known as Pashtunistan into India with the Durand Line Treaty. That left the country land-locked. Ever since Afghanistan has been unable to become stable and prosperous, instead, it served as a graveyard for a succession of governmental experiments: monarchy, republic, communism, Islamism and now a western-built democracy. All failed. As a gateway to India, this area has been invaded by such powers as the Greeks, Persians, Arabs and Mughals who sought to conquer India. Many got bogged down and stayed.12
     
    British India favoured Pashtun tribes, and in their idea, the country belonged to the Pashtuns. That became the motivation factor why Afghan became an equivalent word to Pashtun and Pashtun became Afghan national dialect.
    Like in India, the work defines the caste/Varnas, i.e. Bhramins, Kashtriya, Vaishya and Shudra, the same way the four major groups are also seen from that perspective. Pashtuns are prominent in the region and command the military and are belligerent. Tajiks are the financial keepers and thrift. The Uzbeks are known as ruthless. The Hazaras are disregarded in general; they are the unskilled and poor people.
     
    [12 Afghanistan Slides to the Brink of Ethnic Warfare. https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/11/21/afghanistan-slides-to-the-brink-of- ethnic-warfare/  ]

  • Since the beginning, there have been differentiations between the rural and the urban regions. Whatever the government thought for the development, it has always taken care of the interest of the metropolitan area than the rural area.After the decade-long Soviet Union invasion in the 1980s, however, the ethnic balance shifted. The inhabitants became polarized and started bickering over the distribution of power. Civil war raged throughout the 1990s, and an estimated 400,000 died because of infighting in Kabul.13Arising from the perception that ethnicity is the predominant argument in the Afghan War, a peace process was initiated at the Petersburg Conference near Bonn at the end of November in 2001. The motive for this conference was ethnic representation in the government.After the overthrow of the Pashtun-dominated Taliban in 2001, then-president Hamid Karzai (himself Pashtun) attempted to end ethnic divide by appointing two leaders as his vice presidents: Mohammad Qasim Fahim (a Tajik) and Karim Khalili (a Hazara).14 With the help of United States money, it is said that some cooperation could be seen otherwise it was obvious that there would have been a full scale war between the ethnic groups and the Afghan government and army. 
    In 2014 again, when Obama administration ordered for cuts many afghans lost their jobs. The Afghan Government, headed by Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah, ran out of controlling the country. And the country started falling back into

In 2014 again, when the Obama administration ordered for cuts, many afghans lost their jobs. The Afghan Government, headed by Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah, ran out of controlling the country. And the country started falling back into its historical cycle of anarchy and chaos. Again, it has led to bad governance and a stagnant economy. But if one sees that with coming of the regional powers in the country that is India and China with their wide-scale projects like – TAPI, CHABAHAR PORT and OBOR it is possible that the people Afghan will be better equipped with jobs and housing and infrastructure.
Tribalism is assumed as one of the causes of ethnic conflict in Afghanistan. According to scholars, loyalty to ethnic groups has impeded true nationalism and unity in Afghanistan.
From the beginning of Modern Afghanistan till today, ethnic leaders have used ethnic biases to win power. And such a mechanism of gaining control just has divided the citizens of the country along the ethnic lines. If we trace back the root of the conflicts, we would reach to ethnic sentiments that have been fuelled by selfish political motives. Most of the conflicts that take place in the country begin from this ancient ethnic sentiments. Thus, tribalism in history has divided the people and has fostered favouritism in Afghanistan.15
Corruption and unqualified leaders have intensified ethnic conflict in Afghanistan. Gross mismanagement of national and international resources by incompetent leaders has impoverished and denied opportunities to most Afghans, which has led to agitations by citizens.
 
[15 Main Causes of Ethnic Conflict in Afghanistan and    http://www.outlookafghanistan.net/editorialdetail.php?post_id=21283]
 
With a simple glance at the government employees’ list, one can conclude that evident inequality exists in the way Afghanistan shares its public positions and allocation of infrastructure projects among the provinces as well.
It was not always that the conflict persisted, but due to the bad governance and favouritism, the civil wars are exiting. President Ashraf Ghani should move towards decentralising power, giving more autonomy to the provinces, rather than keeping it with his community.
The Tajiks blame Pashtuns for sympathizing with the Taliban, which led to the fall of major cities like Kunduz and surrounding districts. The Pashtuns accuse Uzbek militias of committing crimes against them in northern Afghanistan and charge Tajik leaders with sabotaging the peace process with the Taliban. (Wahab Raofi, – 2016).
 

7. THE NATO/ISAF INTERVENTION

 In 1979 the Soviet them with armament and also humanitarian aid. In 1989 the soviet union was exhausted in the cold war conflict there they decided to withdraw its troops from, but until the USSR disintegration i.r 1991 they got support from them. The end of the communist era in Afghanistan came in 1992 when resistant groups of Mujahedeen overthrew Kabul’s communist government. *
The Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan Union (former) occupied Afghanistan, which led to a sense of loss to the United States. They felt that they are losing its influence in the middle east. Therefore, they decided to support the Mujahedeen (which was a group who was against the Soviets ideology of communism(atheism) which was undermining their Islam religion) and provided and left the Afghan communist government to fend for itself against the mujahedeen factions.
 
In 1996 the Mujahedeen group was named as Taliban led by Mohammed Omar and was supported by Pakistan. It was Pakistan from where the group was getting aid from China and the United States, and they took control of Kabul and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Taliban also became notorious for its restrictions on human rights, especially the ones of women.16 The Taliban was also in good graces of Osama bin Laden who supported this militia group financially and cited the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as the17 “the only true Islamic state”.
9/11 – the attack on the world trade centre led the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution where Article 3 gives a general authorization for action to bring the perpetrators to justice. On October 7th 2001, the USA with British support began bombing the Taliban region and supported the Northern Alliance.
[17 Ibid16 Role of NATO after 2014 in Afghanistan. https://www.studentsummit.cz/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/PSS-Role-of-NATO-after-2014-in- Afghanistan.pdf ]
Ten years of intervention by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Afghanistan’s security situation is still a significant concern for the international community. There has been a lack of proper planning, shifting policies, inattention to geopolitical realties and over-reliance on military power without the necessary attention to18 the development and human dignity has made the state in a sinking ship.
 
With the fall of the Taliban’s power and the capturing of Osama Bin Laden, the UNSC passed one more resolution that would call for establishing a transitional administration and asking for peacekeeping forces. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by NATO was created in Kabul, and they made Hamid Karzai as interim administration head.19 Operation in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) in Afghanistan was one of NATO’s expensive operations.
From 2003 ISAF started training the Afghan National Security Forces. In 2006, the Taliban began the Jihadist methods of attacks like suicide attacks across the country. By the end of 2014, the Afghan Security forces were supposed to become competent and take over Afghanistan’s responsibility. After 2014, NATO mission in the country was a non-combatant mission that provided further training, advice and assistance to local Afghan forces.

8.  HISTORY OF INDIA’S RELATION WITH AFGHANISTAN

 
Between Afghanistan and India, there has been an exchange of religions if one has to begin with. In 305 B.C the Indian Mauryan Empire brought Buddhism, and eventually a touch of Hindu and Zoroastrian culture stepped in. This is a reason why it was referred to Indian subcontinent before. Only after the Westphalian notion of the nation-state was that the idea to have a sovereign border came to this region. As a result, in return, Afghans brought an introduction to the Islamic culture and introduced Sufi tradition in India.
Migration of peoples from Central Asia to India and expansion of Central Asian empires into India was a recurring theme in the region’s history. Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan – Pride of Afghanistan – The Frontier Gandhi was the prominent leader during the Indian Independence movement.
 
[19 Refworld | Education Under Attack 2018 – Afghanistan. https://www.refworld.org/docid/5be94317a.html18 Political Developments in Afghanistan after 2001. http://www.aensiweb.com/old/jasa/rjfh/August%202014/5-10.pdf   ]

9.   INDO-AFGHAN REALTIONS

 
 Historically, India has enjoyed good cultural, historical and economic relations with Afghanistan, a land where civilization flourished in ancient times. During the rule of King Zahir Shah (1933-73), India cultivated strong relations with Afghanistan. Even after Zahir Shah was overthrown in 1973, India maintained close ties with the subsequent Soviet-backed regimes in Afghanistan. Except for five years of Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001. After the Taliban’s fall, India resumed its ties and started assisting Afghanistan to reconstruct the democratic process. The two countries need each others’ support. India has political and strategic interests in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan needs India for its economic development stability.
 
The relationship is not limited to the government in New Delhi, and Kabul; preferably, its foundation has a historical construct. The bilateral relationship between India and Afghanistan has deep historical and geographical roots.20 Till now, India’s engagement in Afghanistan has been mainly focused upon civilian contributions and economic development. With growing ties between the two countries, the government’s Delhi activities cover five broad areas: infrastructure projects including road building; humanitarian assistance; small and community- based development projects; education and capacity building. India has also assisted in training Afghan police and civil administration and few military personnel in Indian training facilities.
 
A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is of strategic importance for India. Serving as a region in Asia’s heart, Afghanistan can act as a bridge and can open India’s continental trade to Central Asia via Iran by circumventing Pakistan. The Istanbul’ Heart of Asia’ process – a regional dialogue that was launched in November 2011 to increase security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbours- represents India’s anchor as it is the most enormous regional power and more importantly in its neighbourhood. Both India and Afghanistan are members of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC),21 supporting economic and social development through intra-regional cooperation.
 
President Karzai’s recent requests to Delhi to re-open the question of how to tackle the constraints affecting India in Afghanistan. It also highlights the problem of how to fill the security vacuum that threatens to develop in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Western forces – and who should fill it. Karzai’s wish list included various weapons and equipment, including tanks, artillery, mortars, transport aircraft and medium-lift helicopters – in addition to requests for Afghan troops and air force personnel to be trained at Indian defence facilities. If granted, this would significantly step up India’s military role in Afghanistan. (Eva Gross is a senior analyst at the EUISS- 2014). The announcement of 1 USD billion in September 2017 for the New Development Partnership project has added new highs for the near future.
 
India’s approach to its neighbours has swung in recent years. In the mid-1990s, a policy of non- reciprocity, the ‘Gujral Doctrine’, reflected an understanding that India, as the dominant

[21
Ibid20 Afghanistan: the view from India. https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Alert_1_India-Afghanistan.pdf  ]
 
regional power had a duty to support and accommodate its neighbours without necessarily expecting to receive reciprocal benefits. India does not wish to take any unilateral security grip in Afghanistan. This stems from long-standing memories of the ill-fated peacekeeping mission to Sri Lanka in 1987-90 and the recognition that this would raise Pakistan’s tension. 22 Therefore, India helps Afghanistan in rebuilding, keeping our stance secure and visible and at the same time keeping the relations moving in the right direction. There is a recognition that India’s development work and soft power projection in Afghanistan have benefited from Western troops’ presence.
 
In 2012, Kabul’ Heart of Asia’ conference, India offered to lead two confidence-building measures:- intended to support Afghanistan and second integrate the country into regional economic outcome. India recognizes that social and economic development in Afghanistan is vital to ensure regional security. To that end, President Karzai signed Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) during his visit to India in 2011 that formalized a framework for cooperation in the following areas:- political and security collaboration, trade and economic cooperation, capacity development and education, social and cultural cooperation, civil society and people to people relations. India has contributed majorly in infrastructure development. The two main being construction of the Salma Dam Power Project and structure of the Parliament Building.

 
A key for Indian engagement is in the security relationship between the two. India has agreed to increase training for Afghan soldiers and police within India.
 

Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – 2011

 Indo-afghan relations have been further strengthened by the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA)23 signed between the two countries in 2011. The Agreement provides assistance to help rebuild Afghanistan infrastructure and institutions, education and technical assistance. Encouraging investment in Afghanistan’s natural resources is also a domain where India is focusing as Afghanistan holds natural resources like natural gas. India is now the 5th largest
[22 India’s Policy towards Afghanistan – Chatham House Pages 1    http://anyflip.com/hcfr/qhaj/basic
23 India-Afghanistan Relations. http://www.mea.gov.in/Portal/ForeignRelation/afg.pdf ]
 
development donor in Afghanistan, 24 providing aid worth $2 billion to date. The SPA comprises four Joint Working Groups in political and security issues; trade, commerce and investment; development cooperation; and human resource development, education, and culture.25

 Activities of Indian NGO’s and Civil Society

 The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)26 which has achieved great success in the Indian state of Gujrat, has been started in Afghanistan by Indian Government since 2008. Second, a Pune based NGO, Sarhad committed to funding educational sponsorship’s for 50 Afghan students to pursue higher education in India. This initiative, which has been supported by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs, is intended to strengthen cultural ties between the two countries. And third, India provides significant humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, partly in support of its soft power strategy.

10. India – Iran – Afghanistan

India, Iran and Afghanistan are building a maritime road-rail link to Central Asia through Chabahar port.27 This could link up with Chinese built routes, to access Central Asia and Russia as well as Europe. This will give India a win-win cooperation. Afghanistan has extended its support to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Beijing is understood to be contemplating to extend the economic corridor to Afghanistan. Iran is keen to join too.
Chabahar Port
 The Chabahar port is aimed at enhancing trade and transit opportunities between Iran-Afghanistan-India.28 It has a strong economic potential and viability across the region. Chabahar port will add a new dimension in the bilateral cooperation within the countries in the region.29 The trilateral pact signed on 24th May 2016 gave clear indication of prioritizing economic engagement in bringing prosperity and engineering trade relations. There are immense investment opportunities available in the zone that will enhance business and trade and connect other regions of the world. In February, Tehran leased out India of operational

[25
“Afghanistan,India : Joint Statement on the 2nd Strategic Partnership Council Meeting between India and Afghanistan.” MENA Report, Albawaba (London) Ltd., Sept. 2017, p. n/a.24 Afghanistan: the view from India. https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Alert_1_India-Afghanistan.pdf
26 SEWA’s work a role model all: US – Indian Express. http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/sewas-work-a-role-model-all-us/647012/
27  Explaining  China’s  Belt  and  Road  Initiative  –  ICS  Research        https://icsin.org/blogs/2017/05/15/explaining-chinas-belt-and-road-
initiative/
28 Embassy of Afghanistan – Regional Cooperation. http://newdelhi.mfa.af/indo-afghan-relations-4/economic-cooperations/regional- cooperation
29 Chabahar port hopeful to rekindle  Afghanistan’s untapped     https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-commentary/chabahar-port-hopeful-to-rekindle-afghanistans-untapped-economic-potential/]
 

control of the Iranian east coast port of Chabahar for 18 months.30 The Chabahar deal has three objectives :- first to diversify and increase India’s oil and gas supplies, second to enhance connectivity and trade with Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond Iran, and third to balance the power in the region given Chinas presence in the Gwadar port.31

 
International relations’ watchwords are mutual trust, no suspicion, multi-lateral or bilateral cooperation, non- dominance, inclusivity, not exclusion. It would facilitate in opening a new vista of trade and commerce. This deal is a landmark in Indian history as it would build its security without making others vulnerable, and it would break barriers among other nations. Scholars believe that this deal will improve trade and commerce and boost regional connectivity and give impetus to the growth of the economy of neighbouring countries in a positive manner. Also, rather than the land route, the maritime route to get crude oil through a shorter route will be cheaper.
Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan province in an area that is energy-rich lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.32 India’s Kandla port and Chabahar port are less than the distance between Delhi and Mumbai. The city’s inhabitants are ethnic Baluch. This port is located 300 km east from Strait of Hormuz and is the only Iranian port with direct access to the Indian Ocean, Oman Sea and the Persian Gulf.
The two main ports of the Chabahar port are Shahid-Beheshti and Shahid-Kalantari. India is finalizing a plan to construct a 900 km railway line that will connect Chabahar port in Iran to mineral-rich Hajigak region of Afghanistan. The port is also central to India’s effort to circumvent Pakistan and open up a route to landlocked Afghanistan where it has developed close security ties and economic interests.33 With India’s access to Central Asia blocked by Pakistan, the Chabahar deep seaport and INSTC (International North-South Transit Corridor) running inwards through Iran and Afghanistan would provide New Delhi vital access to Central Asia, Russia, and ultimately European markets enabling India to effectively compete with China.
The agreement on the establishment of a Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor has the potential to alter the course of the history of the region. It can spur the unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region, and economic fruits will expand trade, attract investment, will build infrastructure, develop industry and create jobs for all three countries. Chabahar’s portability to play a vibrant role will depend on how well it is able to leverage the transit routes in the region.
[30 Ibid
31 India’s Chabahar Conundrum | Global Peace Operations Review. https://peaceoperationsreview.org/article/indias-chabahar-conundrum/
32  India, Iran and Afghanistan sign historic land transit       http://www.examveda.com/india-iran-and-afghanistan-sign-historic-land-transit-
trade-agreement/
33 India and Iran agree to fast-track the Chabahar port    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india-and-iran-agree-to-fast-track-the-chabahar-
port-project-10-developments/listshow/51873695.cms]
 
Critique A senior fellow at the centre for policy research, New Delhi believes that while the trilateral relation between Iran, India and Afghanistan showcases cooperation, it is unlikely to translate into effective political cooperation as long as Afghanistan’s permanent problems persist. All these initiatives by India is deeply dependent on the stability of one nation – AFGHANISTAN. As mentioned above, Afghanistan is the gateway for West to Central Asia in as much as it is a pathway from the subcontinent to Central Asia. Post-NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan is currently being phased out, hence there is a window/vacuum of opportunity for India and China to become the dominant players in the country. And given China’s strategies and her projects all over, India needs to be careful and has to take the initiative as fast as possible. It will thus benefit India as it has made investments in Afghanistan.
 

11. TAPI – Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India

 
The South Asian region has energy deficiency due to its vast population size in comparison to Central Asia. Though with the fall of the Taliban, South Asian economies have received a boost. Countries like India and Pakistan want the affordable, secure, and feasible energy flow to sustain their current economic growth.
Turkmenistan is the source of the vast amount of natural gas that can be tapped and energy transported to India. The energy trade between the energy deficit South Asia and energy-rich Central Asia should be beneficial to each other, but considering that Afghanistan a route that is a transferable area should be stable. The Project is also known as the CASA-1000 electricity transmission line and the TAPI natural gas pipeline. TAPI was expected to be completed by 2019 if there were no hindrances, but it didn’t happen and still continues. The 1814 km pipeline is expected to deliver 33 billion cubic metres of gas annually.
 
Afghanistan is playing a bridge to facilitate and help the Central Asian resources get exported to South Asia. The Afghanistan route can open up Eurasian hinterland for Russia and Central Asian states.
The pipeline has equal stakes distributed to the multinational companies: TAPI Pipeline Company Limited, GAIL, Afghan Gas Enterprise, Inter State Gas Systems Limited and Turkmen Gas. There are numerous idioms which are used for TAPI – “More than a project, Superhighway of cooperation and coordination, Peace Pipeline, Magic glue” are a few which are frequently used for the pipeline. Some scholars believe that one of the crucial reasons the US invaded Afghanistan was to make it a conduit between Central and South Asia to impede Russia’s dominance in the region. The prime issue that concerns the TAPI pipeline route planners and designers is related to the third-party intervention and rugged hilly terrain of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.
The gas pipeline will start from Galkynysh gas fields in Turkmenistan connecting with Afghanistan’s Herat-Kandahar highway, then via Quetta and Multan in Pakistan ending up at Fazilka that is India’s town bordering Pakistan. The Asian Development Bank funds the TAPI project. Reports that have recently flooded that China is pursuing/pushing for Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-China/ Central Asian China gas pipeline have raised concern for India. It can be said that it is a counter approach to the TAPI approach. Additionally, this route is in confluence with the One Belt One Road initiative and CPEC.
 

12. HEART OF ASIA

 “Addressing Challenges, Achieving Prosperity” – has been a theme of Heart of Asia. The Heart of Asia Istanbul Process was founded on 2nd November 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. The Heart of Asia provides a platform for sincere and result-oriented regional cooperation by placing Afghanistan at its centre, recognising that a secure and stable Afghanistan is vital to the prosperity of the region.34 This platform was established to address the shared interest35 of Afghanistan and its neighbours and regional partners. The Heart of Asia comprises 14 participating countries, 17 supporting countries and 12 supporting regional and international organization.
India and Afghanistan have called for terror emanating from Pakistan as the “greatest threat” to regional peace and stability. They were set to press hard for adopting the counter-terror framework on the day of Amritsar Declaration which happened in 2016. “For the first time, a Heart of Asia conference expressed concern over violence caused in Afghanistan and the region by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Daesh, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” said Jaitley.36
Heart of Asia also takes initiatives and dialogues on the Chabahar project, the five-nation railway project, and TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project. The criticism of Pakistan might yield some pressure on its leadership to act, as it did briefly after the Pathankot attack. However, this approach, in the long run, may deplete the two countries of their limited leverage as Pakistan’s neighbours driving more obstacles to trade between India and Afghanistan. In the past year, the cornering of Pakistan by the South Asian neighbours before the SAARC summit has yielded deeper ties between India and Afghanistan.37
The measures India and Afghanistan have taken to avoid Pakistan, such as land trade from the Chabahar port (in Iran) and a dedicated air corridor between Delhi and Kabul, might prove to be insufficient by the time they are put in place as Afghanistan is connected more closely via a rail line from Yiwu (in China) and Tehran (in Iran). Thus, The Heart of Asia process remains critical in forging cooperation to realize Afghanistan’s potential to be a vibrant Asian “hub”.
connectivity34 Heart Of Asia Summit To Focus On Security, Economic    https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/heart-asia-summit-focus-security-economic-
[ 35 Ibid
36 Heart  of  Asia conference adopts ‘Amritsar Declaration      https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/heart-of-asia-conference-
adopts-amritsar-declaration-focus-on-countering-terror/articleshow/55791966.cms
37 Reading Comprehension for NIACL Mains 2016. https://www.bankersadda.com/reading-comprehension-for-niacl-mains/ ]

13.  SETBACKS FOR INDIA

a. China’s Role In Afghanistan
Gwadar could hardly be a threat as India is well placed at Chabahar, just 80 km away. India also has close ties with Oman and enjoys access to Omani ports on the Indian Ocean coast and to other important ports in the Indian Ocean Region. Concerns about China’s role plays a part in Indian thinking towards Afghanistan. Reports show that China is pursuing an alternative gas pipeline which will come down from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan to China, which will thus lead to India’s leadership role less important in the country. Afghanistan has recently joined China’s overambitious One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative on which Indians have made serious objections, particularly with regard to the Road’s passage via Pakistan-held territory of Kashmir.
 

b.  Pakistan An Obstacle

 Pakistan takes India-Afghan relations as detrimental to its own interests. Its zero-sum attitude to regional cooperation creates many security dilemmas in the region. President Karzai is in an unenviable position. On the one hand, he sees Pakistan as playing a destabilizing “double game” in Afghanistan; and, on the other, he regards Pakistan as a “brother”, while describing India as a “great friend”. The nuance to be underlined here is that friends always help while brothers can sometimes do great harm. Pakistan is singularly placed to hurt Afghanistan’s interest. This is well recognised in Afghanistan where India enjoys warm welcome while Pakistan often comes for stinging criticism. Pakistan, concerned over the India-Afghanistan strategic partnership, is likely to  step up  pressure on the Afghan government.
 
India´s difficult relationship with Pakistan has so far obstructed a stronger strategic and political role for India in Afghanistan. Islamabad´s chase of a policy of ‘strategic depth’ – that is, control over Afghanistan’s government to hedge against India’s growing influence and strength. It has led Delhi to try to lessen Pakistani suspicions over the nature of Indian engagement in Afghanistan, in part by focusing on economic initiatives. Indian engagement in Afghanistan has not been without risks. Recurring attacks on installations – such as the bombings of the Indian embassy in Kabul in July 2008 and October 2009, or the assault on a residence housing Indian aid workers in 2010 – that were alleged to have been instigated or supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) impact on Indian involvement and expose the long shadow cast by the fractious relationship with Islamabad.38
 

14. HOW AFGHANISTAN SEES INDIA

 
In Afghanistan’s diplomatic vocabulary, “Pakistan is a twin brother and India a great friend” as famously stated by President Hamid Karzai during his visit to India in 2011 when he signed a strategic partnership with India stating, “The strategic agreement with our great
[38 Afghanistan: the view from India. https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Alert_1_India-Afghanistan.pdf]
 
friend would not affect our twin brother. Neither India nor Afghanistan intends this strategic partnership to go beyond us”, Karzai stated to balance between the two countries.39
 
The economic assistance provided by India to Afghanistan and Afghan people has strengthened the ties. Afghans feel more benefited by India’s contribution than that of several other countries. That is because India focuses more on providing solutions to the problem faced by a normal citizen and they do not try to interfere in the internal matters. If one asks any Afghani
– what do Afghans think of India? Every Afghan then will answer:-
 

We see India as an honest friend and brother. India has become an important economic assistance partner for Afghanistan. We love India. We welcome Indian alliance wholeheartedly.
By :- Sawabdin Makhksh. 16th June, 2016)
 

15. RECENT SKIRMISHES FOR INDIA AND THE DEBATE THAT SHOULD INDIA ALSO HOLD TALKS WITH TALIBAN GROUPS.
 
As highlighted above that India ought to win the support of Afghans through gigantic development projects to build roads, power lines and other civilian projects and one of the largest projects that India has successfully completed in the country is the construction of a road in southern Nimroz province that provides a link for landlocked Afghanistan to the Iranian port of Chabahar. This road serves as a way to break Afghanistan dependence on Pakistan for transport links. India thus realizes that its campaign against the Taliban takeover may not succeed unilaterally and that it needs Iran on its side in any meaningful campaign against the Taliban.
The sending of Indian diplomats last week to Moscow format for the talks with the Taliban, though nonofficial, has raised many speculations. The delegates did not raise any questions nor did they make any comments, then why did India had a kind of engagement with this meeting when earlier during the Taliban control of Kabul (5 years – 1996 till 2001) it restrained itself from not holdings any talks. Isn’t it correct in the 21st century that the countries need to leave Afghanistan alone as it is sovereign and everything is “Afghan-led” and Afghan-owned”?
 
It has also also criticised that the group which India did not recognise and now, given status by attending the talks.
 
[pakistan-diplomacy-180419110526773.html39 Beyond the TAPI  Project: An Afghan Factor  in India      https://studies.aljazeera.net/en/reports/2018/04/tapi-project-afghan-factor-india-]
 

16.  CONCLUSION

 Zahiruddin Babur, who founded the Mughal Empire in 1526 and once ruled Kabul, wrote in his memoir that Kabul’s inhabitants speak ten different languages. That kind of diversity persists in Afghanistan.
The Taliban movement is undoubtedly a complex consolidation of religious, tribal and regional influence. The erosion of the Afghan state over the past 30 years has significantly affected the society of Afghanistan. Since the inception of the country three centuries ago, Afghanistan has been trapped in a whirlpool. It vacillates from autocracy to short-lived “tranquillity,” then slides back into anarchy. Societal and political ties are questioned by the younger generation as slowly, and gradually, globalization and modernity are coming into the state. Afghans have a feeling of nationhood despite their absence of uniform national society.
 
Before the invasion of soviets or the rise of the Taliban or the NATO enforcement setting, the problems between the groups used to get solved with the JIRGA. Jirga’s were the meetings of the ethnic leaders. The purpose was to solve the problem and end the conflict with negotiations.
 
In a report, it is known that the Balkanization of Afghanistan has begun. The country is already divided north and south. The north is controlled by powerful Balkh governor Atta Muhammad Noor, and the south by police chief Abdul Raziq Achakzai. Each reportedly is untouchable and won’t take orders from President Ghani.40
To conclude, there is no single cause of violence in the country. Not to forget the Taliban, which has evolved mostly from the Pashtun ethnic group that leverages violence within the country for several reasons. Afghanistan’s issues are incredibly complex. Factors such as – geography, region, history, ethnic considerations, religion, tribal social structures, ineffective governance and fragmented economy have created violence. Also, the struggle comes for political power and access to resources.
Post-2014 Afghanistan, India aims to maintain its influence in the country to prevent Afghanistan from falling under near-exclusive Pakistani influence. Afghanistan history has been steeped in conflict, distress and social unrest. India’s relationship with Afghanistan is multi-layered. There is clearly a military and security angle.41 India aspires for stability within Afghanistan and hanging on top of Pakistan, which blockades the relationship. Also, concern about Chinas role plays a part in Indian thinking towards Afghanistan. Reports that have recently flooded that China is pursuing/pushing for Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-China gas pipeline have raised concern for India.
India and Afghanistan have been cooperating for the last ten  years. India has provided nearly
$ 1.5 billion worth of assistance and trained many Afghans in India, including the Afghan

[40
Afghanistan Slides to the Brink of Ethnic Warfare. https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/11/21/afghanistan-slides-to-the-brink-of- ethnic-warfare/
41 Afghanistan turns to India for military helicopters – DAWN.COM. https://www.dawn.com/news/1217859  ]
 
police. The partnership agreement consolidates the various interactions and provides a robust institutional mechanism to build the relationship further.42 More positively, there is a social and economic engagement, including investment by Indian firms and development projects undertaken by the Indian government. India’s lead role under the Istanbul Process of regional engagement reflects its attempts to normalize Afghanistan in the region’s eyes. India also assists in facilitating trading link through Iran.43
A country of war and conflicts if the international system needs to establish peace and security must be a regional collective security treaty organization. Keeping the neighbouring countries on a constant upliftment, and that would be India, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the central Asian countries.
There is no doubt that the ISAF and NATO have failed their operation. The loss of life both civilian and military, creating more ethnic divides and troubled borders has led the country into a situation where it will take a decade to come over the conflicts. When the United States build its forces, it was unaware of the local cultural knowledge and the language. They were unaware of the fact that how the country used to work when there were tribal skirmishes. A group of US scholars had observed “our unfamiliarity with the way Afghanistan works exaggerated the scale of the problems we must solve, and it makes it even hard to describe the clear series we can take that can lead to the achievements of our goals in the end”. Also in the early years of invasion, a veteran military officer who was commissioned by the Pentagon to examine the war in Afghanistan expressed a pessimistic view saying that the “conflict – created conditions that have to give warlordism, banditry and opium production a new lease on life.44
To conclude in a nutshell, Afghanistan has become a playground for political influence between rivals and allied powers like Iran and the United States or India and Pakistan or Russia or China and few other countries. It is also assumed that the US strategy in Afghanistan was to fight against international terrorism and establish permanent bases in this important geostrategic area, contain China, control Russia, and face up to the rise of Iran.
 

17.  REFERENCES

 1.Marsden, P., 2001. Afghanistan : minorities, conflict and the search for peace / by Peter Marsden., London: Minority Rights Group.
2.Barfield, T., 2010. Afghanistan, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
3.Bradford, J.T., 2019. Poppies, Politics, and Power, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
4.Ewans, M., 2002. Afghanistan : a short history of its people and politics 1st Perennial., New York: Perennial.
5.Griffiths, J.C., 2001. Afghanistan : a history of conflict Updated., London: Carlton Books Ltd.
 
[afghanistan-india-showcases-its-soft-power-analysis/42  Strategic   Partnership   With   Afghanistan: India  Showcases        https://www.eurasiareview.com/10102011-strategic-partnership-with-
43 Ibid
44 Political Developments in Afghanistan after 2001. http://www.aensiweb.com/old/jasa/rjfh/August%202014/5-10.pdf ]
 

  1. Baker, K.J. & ebrary, Inc, 2011. War in Afghanistan [electronic resource] : a short history of eighty wars and conflicts in Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier 1839-2011 1st ed., Kenthurst, N.S.W.: Rosenberg Publishing.
  2. Chandra, V., 2018. My enemy’s enemy: India in Afghanistan from the soviet invasion to the US withdrawal. , 26(3), pp.362–363.
  3. Rosner, R.F., 2015. Carlotta Gall. The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan 2001- 2014. , 46(2), pp.332–333.
  4. Arnold, G., 2011. India in the New South Asia: Strategic, Military and Economic Concerns in the Age of Nuclear Diplomacy; China, India and the International Economic Order. , 100(416), pp.560–562.
  5. Sharma, N., 2010. Dwivedi, Manan, South Asia Security (New Delhi Kalpaz Publications, 2009). Pp. 352. Price Rs 750. India Quarterly, 66(2), pp.233–236.
  6. Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons, 2007. East India (Afghanistan). Papers regarding hostilities with Afghanistan, 1919 [electronic resource]., Cambridge [Eng.]: Proquest LLC.
  7. Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons, 2007. East India (Afghanistan). Papers regarding hostilities with Afghanistan, 1919 [electronic resource]., Cambridge [Eng.]: Proquest LLC.
  8. Sinno, A.H. & ebrary, Inc, 2008. Organizations at war in Afghanistan and beyond [electronic resource], Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  9. The Pashtuns – Abubakar Siddique
  10. The Taliban – Ahmed Rashid
  11. India’s look west policy : why central Asia matters by Vibhuti Hate
  12. Afghanistan : Transit hub for the region. By Sayeda Yahya Akhlaqi
  13. Strategic Partnership with Afghanistan: India Showcases its Soft Power By Dr. Arvid Gupta.

 
By :- Raagini Sharma
 

Dollarization of International Finance

By  Praveen Sharma

Introduction

Dollarization is when, alongside or in lieu of its domestic currency, a nation starts to accept the US dollar as a medium of exchange or legal tender. It is the term for when the U.S. dollar is used in addition to or instead of the domestic currency of another country. In developed nations with a weak central monetary authority or an uncertain economic climate, dollarization typically occurs. It can happen as an official monetary policy or as a process of the de facto market. The primary reason for dollarization is to reap the benefits of greater currency value stability over the domestic currency of a nation. The dollarizing country effectively outsources their monetary policy to the U.S. Federal Reserve. To the degree that US monetary policy is set in the interest of the U.S. economy and not the interests of dollarized countries, this may be a negative factor. Dollarization could prove to be useful if it helps to take advantage of a monetary policy economy of scale that enables the dollarizing country to save on capital that would have to be committed to supplying and maintaining its own supply of currency. The US dollar is used as the basic unit of currency in foreign markets for goods such as gold and petroleum, in addition to being the primary currency of the United States. Many non-U.S. multinational companies who deal in globalized markets, such as Airbus, list their prices in dollars. The U.S. dollar is, together with the euro, a significant international reserve currency. The euro obtained this status from the German mark and has improved its standing substantially since its launch, often at the expense of the dollar. Given the recent losses of the dollar to the euro, it is still by far the major foreign reserve currency, with more than double the accumulation of the euro. The US dollar rules over the foreign exchange market and around 90% of the forex trading is done in US dollar. With the financial crisis, the dollar has become much more widely used. The banks of Germany, France, and Great Britain kept more dollar-denominated liabilities in 2018 than in their own currencies. In addition, dollars have been made scarce by bank legislation imposed to avoid another recession, and the Federal Reserve has raised the rate of fed funds. By making dollars more costly to borrow, that decreases the money supply. The resilience of the dollar is why governments are able to keep the dollar in their reserves for foreign exchange, Through their financial transactions, governments obtain currencies. They are also received by domestic companies and travelers who redeem them in local currencies.

Bretton Woods Agreement& It’s Collapse

The Bretton Woods Agreement was negotiated in July 1944 by delegates from 44 countries at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Thus, the name “Bretton Woods Agreement. Gold was the basis for the U.S. dollar under the Bretton Woods Model, and other currencies were pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar. In the early 1970s, when President Richard M. Nixon declared that the U.S. would no longer trade gold for US currency, the Bretton Woods Scheme essentially came to an end.In July 1944, approximately 730 delegates from 44 countries met in Bretton Woods with the key objectives of developing an effective foreign exchange mechanism, preventing competitive currency devaluations and fostering international economic development.These priorities were central to the Bretton Woods Agreement and Framework. Two significant organizations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, were both established under the Bretton Woods Agreement. While the Bretton Woods system was dissolved in the 1970s, the IMF and the World Bank have remained strong pillars of foreign currency exchange.The Bretton Woods System’s main architects were the prominent British economist John Maynard Keynes and the U.S. American Chief International Economist. Harry Dexter White of the Treasury Department. The hope of Keynes was to build a strong global central bank called the Clearing Union and to issue a new foreign reserve currency called the banking system.Instead of the development of a new currency, White ‘s proposal envisaged a more modest lending fund and a greater position for the US dollar. The adopted strategy eventually took suggestions from both, leaning more towards White ‘s plan.
In 1971, President Richard M. Nixon, worried that the U.S. gold supply was no longer sufficient to support the amount of dollars in circulation, devalued the U.S. dollar relative to gold. He announced a temporary suspension of the dollar’s conversion into gold after a run on gold reserves. The Bretton Woods structure collapsed in 1973. Countries were therefore free, with the exception of pegging their value to the price of gold, to select any exchange agreement for their currency. For example, they might attach their value to the currency of another country or a basket of currencies, or simply let it float freely and allow market forces to decide its value relative to the currencies of other countries.The Bretton Woods Agreement remains a significant event in world financial history. The two Bretton Woods Institutions it created in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank played an important part in helping to rebuild Europe in the aftermath of World War II.

Dollarization - Overview, Trade and Financial Benefits, Risks

Dollar as king of global finance

Global trade was strongly based on the gold standard before World War I. Nations related their currency directly to gold and gold was used to carry out all trade between the countries. As a result, countries with trade surpluses saw their stocks of gold pile up. Countries with trade deficits have exhausted their gold reserves, on the other hand. The 20th was soon shaken by the first world war which terrible affected resources and economies around the globe. The gold standard fell flat on its face, creating the need for a currency structure that was more pliable. This paved the way for the rise of the British Pound Sterling and the US Dollar as world reserve currencies. As smaller countries moved to inconvertible paper money, the gold stock of relatively powerful countries rose. The gold standard had become operational again by the late 1920s, but in a different form: the gold-exchange standard. In this scheme, instead of being pegged directly to gold, the currency was pegged to another foreign gold-linked currency. History replicated itself until, in the aftermath of the Great Depression in the 1930s, this structure collapsed too. Even the U.K. suspended the gold standard in 1931. The only big countries that were left with significant gold reserves were France and the US. The mutual want for a stable worldwide currency reserve led to the July 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement. At the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, delegates from 44 countries negotiated. As much of the world’s gold reserves were owned by the US and the gold-backed dollar was relatively stable, delegates decided to accept the US dollar as their official reserve currency.
The gold for dollar system worked during 1950-70. But it came under strain as the US started printing and spending a large value of dollars on post-war reconstruction efforts. When countries holding these dollars went for exchange with gold, the US gold reserves started vanishing.  Gold supply was finite, but the dollar printing knew no limits. The story came to an end in August 1971 when the US reneged from its commitment to convert the US dollar to
gold.De-linking gold with dollar made the US the linchpin of global finance. Through selling, other nations need to receive foreign exchange; the US Fed only has to press the print button. The Fed has almost become the global central bank. In order to be in line with the Fed, central banks around the world have to calibrate their policies. Without thinking about domestic inflation or balance-of-payments, it could print dollars because over two-thirds of all the dollars in circulation are kept outside the US. The USA could carry out massive expenditures on military activities and foreign aid to achieve its political objectives.The only big country challenging the dollar’s status was the Soviet Union, and that was the biggest explanation for the Cold War. Reluctantly, Europe and Japan joined the diplomatic and military umbrella of the US, recognizing the dollar as the de facto world currency.

Demand for new Global Currency

In March of 2009, U.S. Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, let it slip that he was “quite open” to the idea of an eventual move toward a global currency run by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).One of the most frequently cited backers of a single currency is the legendary economist, John Maynard Keynes. For a world currency, there will be a little bit for everyone. Since there would no longer be currency danger in foreign trade, all nations would definitely benefit. Traders, anticipating currency fluctuations, will no longer have to hedge their bets. Both international finance-related transaction costs will also be reduced. Exchanging currencies often needs a transfer, which banks charge as a cost, and changing one currency to another will result in a loss of value. All of this will be removed by having one global currency. It will support individuals travelling abroad as well as corporations conducting operations in other countries. It there will ever be a global currency then, as a way of making their products cheaper on the global market, China could no longer use currency trade. China has been manipulating its currency for a long time, undervaluing it and thereby making the price of its products more competitive around the world. This has become a drawback to other nations’ economies. China wouldn’t be able to do this with one global
currency, nor would it have a justification to do so.The adoption of a stable currency, which would form the basis for potential economic growth, would also help developed countries considerably. Zimbabwe, for instance, has suffered from one of the worst hyperinflation crises in history. Global currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, had to replace the Zimbabwean dollar in April 2009.
However, the most obvious downfall to the introduction of a global currency would be the loss of independent monetary policy to regulate national economies. For example, in the 2008 economic crisis in the United States, the Federal Reserve was able to lower interest rates to unprecedented levels and increase the money supply in order to stimulate economic growth. These actions served to lessen the severity of the recession in the United States.This kind of active management of a national economy would not be feasible under a global currency. On a country-by – country basis, monetary policy cannot be implemented. Instead, any monetary policy adjustment will have to be made at a global level. Given the increasingly global nature of trade, each nation’s economies around the world still vary considerably and need different management. This would subject all countries to one monetary policy which could likely lead to policy decisions that would benefit some countries at the expense of others.This will probably result in negative impacts on developed nations rather than developing nations. For example, when its economy had all but collapsed, Germany had to bail out Greece, investing billions of euros to keep Greece from entering bankruptcy.
The IMF recommended on April 13, 2010 that the world adopt a global currency called the “Bancor” and that a global central bank be established to administer that currency. China in 2009 also called for a global currency to replace the dominant dollar, showing a growing assertiveness on revamping the world economy. China has long been uneasy about relying on the dollar for the bulk of its trade and to store foreign reserves. Premier Wen Jiabao publicly appealed to Washington this month to avoid any response to the crisis that might

Conclusion

It can be concluded that in a dollar-controlled economy acountry’s economy is ransom to Fed’s actions. If Fed increases the interest rate, dollars flow back to the US, and if it lowers rates, dollars move to the world to take advantage of growth stories or interest rate arbitrage of individual countries.Trillions of dollars loaned to corporates at near zero interest rate transfer wealth from the people to corporates, a key reason for the concentration of wealth in the top one per cent of the population.US actions are being emulated by China and other countries which have also printed and offloaded large volume of money in the past 10 years. Awash with cheap loans, Chinese firms export subsidized goods with no relation between cost and price. This has distorted the world trading pattern.The world reserve currency status became the source of U.S. global power because it could borrow as much as it wanted in the international capital market without worrying about payment defaults.For example, the U.S. government treasuries were (and still are) the world’s most sought-after financial assets because the face value and interests were to be repaid in U.S. dollars, deemed the “safest” currency on Earth.If China decided to sell over one trillion U.S. dollar treasuries, for example, all that America had to do was to print that amounts of greenbacks to repay the Asian country. While there would be side effects such as depreciation of the U.S. dollar and rise in interest rates (both of which could wreak havoc on the global financial system and the economy), including those of the U.S., the U.S. would be “debt free.” China, on the other hand, would be receiving depreciated greenbacks, effectively reducing America’s debt burden. Therefore, the researcher suggests that the world should strongly consider the option of having a uniform global currency. Establishing an international currency to replace the greenback will not be easy, but it should and must be done. Only then would international economic and financial systems be stable or free from U.S. meddling and bullying.

WHO and Pandemic Politics

0


Author: Sakshi Oza
Research Coordinator, GCTC
Areas of interest: West Asia Studies, Indo Pacific Studies
 
 
 
INTRODUCTION
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Novel coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2), is liable for the havoc and wreck the globe is battling right now. This anonymous virus, gained attention worldwide due to its speed of transmission. After careful inspection the virus was identified to have been closely linked to bat coronavirus, pangolin coronavirus through natural interaction. December 2019, documented the very first case of coronavirus in Wuhan city of Hubei, in China. The symptoms for the disease were identified ranging between none to fatal and could be transmitted to other human beings by the means of cough, sneeze, breath and contaminated surfaces.
Wuhan became the hotspot for the disease and in no time it rapidly spread to other parts of the globe. Chinese authorities isolated the virus from the clustered cases and reported it to the World Health Organization (WHO) in January 2020.  The World Health Organization in the following days tweeted regarding the cluster of disease and made the report public. The report contained data about the number of cases and their clinical status; insights concerning the Wuhan national response measures; and WHO’s hazard evaluation and guidance on general public well being measures.  As borders were still not sealed, with the availability of international flights from Wuhan, people continued to travel which caused the virus to unknowingly disseminate   globally and by February 26th, 2020, coronavirus cases were confirmed in all continents. Travel restrictions were placed upon around 760 million people in China. Articulating growing alarm about increasing infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on 11 march 2020 that the worldwide coronavirus crisis was now a pandemic.  With the declaration of the pandemic being made public, countries imposed bans on social gatherings and restricted travel means. Curfews, stay at home orders, quarantines were implemented all around the globe and by April 2020, half of world population was under national lockdowns as citizens were ordered to stay at home by their respective national governments.
 
THE ‘ORIGIN’ POLEMIC
The discussions regarding the origin of the virus became an in-vogue topic which gathered a lot of attention, when Dr. Li Weng Yan, an ophthalmologist from China claimed the virus was actually formulated in a lab and used as a bioweapon by the Chinese authorities. She further went on to allege the Chinese authorities and WHO, knowing the human to human transmission of the virus earlier than it was made public. Although her claims were rejected by the scientific community, her publications and interviews sparked a fire. Soon several theories vis-à-vis the origin and outbreak of the virus started circulating on different social media platforms. Different narratives were being formed associated with the origin of coronavirus.
On 3 February 2020, the Wall Street Journal published an article commenting on Chinese government’s mismanagement of the Covid 19 crisis. The article titled “China is the real sick man of Asia” was shunned and aroused anger among the Chinese authorities and Chinese people as well. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) responded rapidly and condemned the author for their arrogance and bias, blaming the WSJ for being racially partial and requested a public apology. Chinese state owned media house Global Times, published an article of their own that scorned the WSJ for their actions. Around the same time, the U.S. State Division assigned five Chinese journalists as official government entities under the Foreign Missions Act, which implied that the journalists were subjected to upon similar limitations as the PRC government’s diplomatic outposts. In no time, Beijing responded by giving three WSJ writers a five-day notification to leave the country. The Trump administration imposed further constraints on Chinese journalists in the US, claiming such restrictions were aimed at continuance of the reciprocity. This marked the beginning of the blame game, Chinese MFA representative, Hua Chunying on her twitter handle stated that US has started the game which will be played just.
Counter-Narrative to the aforementioned school of thought, Chinese authorities blamed the US for the origin of the virus. Chinese MFA spokesperson Zhao Lijian made productive use of the issue in hand and tweeted substantiating the origin of the virus in US army lab and bought to Wuhan during the military world games which was strongly condemned and attracted severe criticism by the trump administration. Tipping the matter further, Former US president Donald Trump during one of the white house press conferences called the virus “Chinese virus” further indicating that the virus may have been manufactured in a lab. In April 2020, the US intelligence community stated that there were considerable doubts regarding China’s numbers on Covid-19 cases and deaths. Responding, Chinese media outlets targeted US Covid-19 statistics and stated that the authorities were softening the actual situation. In the following days, former US president Donald Trump publicly claimed of evidences which point China being responsible for the origination of coronavirus. Former US state secretary Mike Pompeo in an interview also asserted to possess significant proofs that coronavirus originated from a lab in Wuhan. The Chinese authorities were not so far behind, Chinese MFA spokesperson, on twitter questioned US’s response and hinted that they might be hiding relevant pieces of information regarding the origin of coronavirus.
The to and fro of accusations from US and China kept increasing day by day. Former US president Donald Trump continued to blame and target both China and WHO for their involvement in Covid 19 pandemic. He kept referring to the virus as “Chinese virus” at all public gatherings, conferences and meetings, reiterating the role of China and WHO in the pandemic. To make WHO accountable, Donald Trump also put hold onto the financial contributions and withdrew from the U.N health body.
The narratives were also being constructed among the public as well. As per the study conducted by Pew Research Centre, it was reported that the majority of masses in the US blamed China for the pandemic. According to a poll conducted by a Vancouver based polling company, Research co. it was found that the majority of Canadians wanted China to be held responsible for the pandemic situation and many suggesting harsh actions be implemented against the country. In a similar fashion poll conducted in Germany, majority held China responsible for the virus outbreak and tampering with Covid 19 cases statistics. Similar doubts were also raised by politicians in France and Britain. Bild, Germany’s largest tabloid media outlet put together a detailed invoice of 149 billion euros to be compensated by the Chinese authorities for the damages and the loss of lives due to Covid 19 pandemic. Chinese authority in retaliation termed this as an act of xenophobia and slammed the media outlet for publishing such an article. The outrage against China was still rising. The French foreign minister summoned the Chinese ambassador for publishing an outrageous article against health care workers in France. The UK was also reconsidering its relationship with China and doubting over allowing Chinese investments in nations 5G networks.
 
CHINESE NARRATIVE
China has been working towards becoming a global hegemon and having a bigger voice in decision making processes in international institutes. Covid 19 situation has however put a halt to achieving this dream. For China, a lot is at stake, with its trillion dollar Belt and road initiative, Silk Road project, and Asian infrastructure investment bank. Due to growing outrage the leadership of Xi Jinping was under scrutiny. Untimely death of Dr. Li led to intensified anger among people on social media. People were demanding freedom for speech and an apology for the crisis. Constant blame from different parts of the globe tainted China’s reputation. China’s quest for emerging as a superpower was threatened due to mishandling of Covid 19 crisis within its own territory.
The Chinese, grasping the seriousness of the outrage all over the world decided to customise an understanding of their own by resorting to aggressive forms of diplomacy, censorship and offensive attacks. It started with president Xi issuing a direct order to state owned media outlets to publish articles and opinion pieces that emphasised on China’s response in combating the virus and to censor anything even slightly critical to China’s reputation. Within the first few weeks of the campaign the media houses were not allowed to ask Chinese authorities any questions regarding the source of this virus apart from highlighting  the poor handling of the coronavirus situation by the US and European nations. Chinese papers and broadcasters also emphasized domestic issues within US and how the American government was killing their own citizens by diverting the finances towards election campaigns.
The Chinese authorities decided to turn the tables on the topic of origin of coronavirus with Chinese spokesperson attacking America and stating that it was the American army which was responsible for the outbreak of the disease. When this argument did not hold up, a group of Chinese scientists claimed that the virus originated in India. They claimed that the virus was transferred from animals to humans via contaminated water in India during the summer of 2019. Not only US and India, China has pointed fingers at every country which was doing trade with Hubei province that includes Australia, Canada, Germany and Spain. Such claims were made without any scientific and empirical evidence. Further, the Chinese diplomats and MFA spokespersons have engaged in an absolute campaign of renunciations and misinformation. In every interview, they have maintained to proclaim that the virus was not originated in China and China’s speedy response and handling of the crises at home. Chinese authorities have also directed European leaders to steer clear of commenting on China’s involvement in Covid 19 crisis.
To further place China in a positive light, the authorities announced victory over Covid 19; no new infections were being reported and life was back to normal in the country. In other efforts, China began providing medical assistance and health care equipment to different countries. It also announced its financial aid to 82 countries, to WHO and the African Union. The Chinese government sent additional medical experts and training officers across the globe and donated millions of masks, gloves, testing kits and ventilators. China has also provided loans to different countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka to help them fight the coronavirus battle.
In order to spread their narration and to further save face, the Chinese authorities decided to showcase their side of the story onto the PRC’s embassy website. On the website of the embassy of People’s Republic of China in the kingdom of Netherlands, it is very clearly mentioned that China should not be blamed or held responsible for the outbreak and instead the countries should remain focused on improving their efforts to fight the disease and protect their people instead of pointing fingers. The very same publication also highlighted Chinese authorities’ response against the crises and their cooperation with WHO. This can be viewed as a subtle but unnecessary action by the Chinese authorities.
 
WHO and China
The preeminent global health institution, World Health Organization, for a couple of months was under international spotlight for its management and response towards Covid 19 pandemic and its relationship with China. WHO has been criticized by numerous health experts and political figures for not taking charge of the situation on time, further contributing to the escalation of the ongoing plight. The disease which was first detected in Wuhan city in December 2019 was not informed by the Chinese to the UN health agency and the information regarding human to human transmission was also suppressed.
In mid-January 2020, WHO announced as per preliminary investigation there was no evidence of human to human transmission of the disease, but in a week’s time the statement was reversed. Despite the severity of the situation, WHO opposed international travel bans and border restrictions. In late January of 2020, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus met with the Chinese president Xi and applauded the country’s response and efforts towards handling the pandemic situation. He further commended the country’s leadership for sharing information and cooperation with the health agency. It was only in February 2020, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly berated countries for implementing such a policy.
WHO was also blamed for ignoring warnings by Taiwan about human to human transmissions in December 2019. All the evidence pointed that China did mishandle the virus situation in the early days. Beijing had knowledge about the seriousness of the disease prior to the official announcement and also allowed millions of citizens to travel within China and abroad till late January. As per the Chinese envoy to the UK, Chinese state authorities informed WHO about the virus outbreak on 31st December 2019 but as per WHO, they picked up the information regarding a new virus through the internet. Chinese authorities also rejected the proposal to allow any investigating bodies to come to China and investigate the source of the outbreak China was also silencing frontline doctors who were warning others of the new disease, pressurizing several doctors to sign confessions for spreading of misinformation along with forceful sudden disappearances. The experience of China and WHO is quite transparent of mismanagement and negligence towards Covid 19 crisis. With the absence of US contribution, China’s importance as a potential contributor to WHO and funding of projects such as “health silk road” remains vital for the UN health agency.
 
CONCLUDING REMARKS
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human lives  worldwide and presents an unmatched challenge to the world of work. As of Jul 22nd 2021, approximately 4,143,764 people have lost their lives to coronavirus. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is disturbing. The lockdowns and travel restrictions caused millions to  lose their jobs and many small and big businesses had to shut down. Covid 19 recession is considered to be the worst since the great depression of 1929. Frontline health care workers were affected physically and mentally under stressful conditions for innumerable hours without proper protective equipment, jeopardizing their own lives for others. Domestic violence and sexual exploitation spiked as lockdowns were implemented. Due to loss of lives, loss of jobs and loneliness the mental health of citizens all across the globe deteriorated. People developed anxiety and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and panic attacks. Thousands have died from hunger. It is agreed upon that in such difficult times it’s imperative that we keep our emotions aside and focus on taking charge of the pandemic situation but to take responsibility and accountability for others, there is no proper addressal to the affair. Responsibility for each life lost. Responsibility for economic strain on families. So far, there has been no investigation regarding WHO’s involvement or regarding its relationship with China.
WHO has publicly criticized those who dared to speak against China but has defended and praised China and its actions at every turn. While it is apparent that China did mishandle the Covid 19 situation what’s baffling is that apart from commenting on China’s mismanagement and involvement in Covid 19 situation, none of the major powers have taken any action against China so far. In fact, all of them continue to strengthen their military powers and boost the economy. This entire pandemic have become more political and the focus on finding out about the actual source of the virus has also been lost in a war of words. All the superpowers who have been reiterating the importance of multilateralism and a multilateral world have only played the blame game, rather than actually coming forward to collectively work and collaborate to defeat this global pandemic.
 
References
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Silver, L., Devlin, K., & Huang, C. (2020, July 30). Americans Fault China for Its Role in the Spread of COVID-19. Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/07/30/americans-fault-China-for-its-role-in-the-spread-of-covid-19/
Jaworsky, B. N., & Qiaoan, R. (2020). The Politics of Blaming: the Narrative Battle between China and the US over COVID-19. Journal of Chinese Political Science, 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11366-020-09690-8
Verma, R. (2020). China’s diplomacy and changing the COVID-19 narrative. International Journal75(2), 248–258. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020702020930054
Palmer, J. (2020, March 19). China Is Blaming the United States for the Coronavirus. Foreign Policy. https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/02/China-blames-united-states-coronavirus/
Schaefer, B. D. (2020, April 28). The World Health Organization Bows to China. The Heritage Foundation. https://www.heritage.org/global-politics/commentary/the-world-health-organization-bows-China#
Who is Responsible for the Spread of COVID-19? (2020). China- Embassy. http://nl.China-embassy.org/eng/xwdt/t1766656.htm
Listings of WHO’s response to COVID-19. (2020, June 29). Who.Int. https://www.who.int/news/item/29-06-2020-covidtimeline
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Posaner, J. (2020, May 11). Germans pin coronavirus blame on China: poll. POLITICO. https://www.politico.eu/article/poll-germans-pin-blame-on-China-for-coronavirus-pandemic/
Desk, F. W. (2020, November 28). Shifting blame: China’s scientists now claim coronavirus originated in India. Free Press Journal. https://www.freepressjournal.in/world/shifting-blame-Chinas-scientists-now-claim-coronavirus-originated-in-india
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Bioterrorism

By Shloka Dikshit

8,297 Radioactive Warning Symbol Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

Introduction :

Bioterrorism is a planned and organized use of pathogenic strains of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses or their toxins to spread life-threatening pathogens on a massive scale to devastate the population of the area. People have described the next hundred years as the ‘century of biology.’ Incredibly rapid and dramatic changes in genetic modifications in biomolecular engineering and strengthened bio-production technologies may, however, make it easier for terrorists to overcome the barriers that have hindered the procurement of bio agents in the past.

The danger of biological warfare has attracted the attention of Indian defense and medical experts for a long time. There have been a few episodes of suspicion in the past. During the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the epidemic of typhus scrub in north-eastern India was suspected. India’s military and intelligence teams were alert to the outbreak of pneumonic plague – well known in biological warfare – in Surat and Bubonic plague in Beed in 1994, which resulted in several casualties and substantial economic losses.

Bioterrorism agents are categorized as A, B and C.

Category A: High-priority agents include organisms that pose a threat to the nation because they can be easily disseminated or spread from person to person, result in high mortality rates, and are likely to have a significant impact on public health.They may cause mass fear and social disruption, and require special public health preparedness measures.

Agents/diseases include anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) and botulism (Clostridium botulinum toxin)

Category B: The second highest concern agents include those that are moderately easy to spread, result in moderate morbidity and low death rates, and require specific improvement of CDC diagnostic capabilities and enhanced disease surveillance.

Agents/diseases include brucellosis (Brucella species) and Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin.

Category C: The third highest priority agents include emerging pathogens that could be designed for mass spread in the future based on the availability, ease of production and spread, and the potential for high morbidity and mortality rates and major health impacts.

Agents include emerging infectious diseases such as Nipah virus and Hanta virus etc.

The method of attack would depend on the type of agents used. In order to infect or affect a vast proportion, it is possible that the aerosol mechanism would be used in closed, enclosed areas where large numbers of people are assembled, e.g. department stores, cinemas. Contamination of food and water with toxins and pathogens may also be another measure.

Countermeasures : 

In order to bolster the area of biodefense, the US Senate passed the Bioterrorism Act of 2002. As per this law, there is a key element of national preparedness to combat bioterrorism, with a focus on the safety of drugs, food and water from biological agents and toxins. However, we in India are still waiting for a bioterrorism law .

There is currently a gap in specific law and treaties to curb or prevent attacks on biological weapons. Launched in 2004 with a $1 million grant from the US-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Interpol held its first ‘Interpol Global Conference on Bioterrorism Prevention’ at its headquarters on 1-2 March 2005.

Well, before any event, public health officials must incorporate surveillance systems so that they can recognize patterns of non-specific syndromes that could indicate early occurrences of a biological war attack. The system needs to be timely, sensitive, specific and practical.

In India, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP), a federated and state-based surveillance system, was launched in November 2004. It integrates the public sector, private industry, rural and urban health systems and incorporates communicable and non-communicable systems (unusual clinical syndromes may be included during public health emergencies).Incorporation of medical colleges and international health agencies (WHO, NIC, etc.). Its major components include the integration and decentralization of surveillance activities, the strengthening of health care laboratories, the human resource development and the use of information technology for data collection, collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination.

The main role of the hospital-based microbiology laboratory in the promotion of bio-threat, bio-crime or bio-terrorism is to cause alarm when a target agent is suspected in a human specimen. It should be organized to identify and respond to a covert event involving the collection, conservation, transport and evaluating of human specimens.

Prophylaxis in response to the incidence of bioterrorism means the administration of chemoprophylactic drugs to prevent the spread of the disease. The following things will be required for undertaking such exercises: medicines and vaccines to be provided; the population category for which chemoprophylaxis/immunoprophylaxis is to be administered; availability of the required quantity of drugs or vaccines; and outline of the mechanism of administration with health infrastructure.

The need of the hour is promoting awareness among the public and doctors; stocking up of drugs and vaccines; allotment of separate funds; preparedness: this is not a cause of panic – it is a cause of serious, intentional long-term concern; international cooperation; microbiologists are the main key elements of action because biological weapons are the products of their specialization.

Conclusion :

Bioterrorism differs from other types of terrorism (chemical, radiological, or nuclear). It impacts the nation’s public health care system heavily. To meet the challenge of bioterrorism, cooperation and coordinated efforts of different agencies, viz. the intelligence agency, the army, the BSF, SSB, law enforcement machinery, health departments most importantly, civil administration, etc. are required.

India’s Oil Import Diversification By Sakshi Oza

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Ever since the discovery of Energy resources, Oil has dominated the market. In terms of global rankings, after the United States and China, India is the world’s third largest oil consumer and the third-largest crude oil importer. Having little luck with its offshore oil fields, India is highly reliant on Saudi Arabia to provide crude oil to meet domestic demand. Following the Covid 19 pandemic, reductions in oil supply by OPEC and OPEC+ had led India to diversify its oil imports to attain a stable and incessant supply. Furthermore, India has begun to reduce its oil import dependency from Saudi Arabia and increase its oil imports from countries such as United States of America, Nigeria, Guyana, Brazil and Norway.
The second-largest crude oil importer in South Asia, India’s supply is dominated by west Asian countries who are members of the OPEC+ group. With US sanctions on Iran, India has been purchasing crude oil from 3 major suppliers namely Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and UAE for a decade. With the majority of supply coming from one region, there are several hazards and insecurities involved. A volatile political atmosphere and unstable economy are one such. The oil crises of 1973 and 1979 have taught the globe that highly depending on a single source, will make oil-importing countries vulnerable to supply shortages. To avoid such disasters, several countries have diversified their oil import policy. For India, there have been discussions among the policymaker in the past to diversify the imports but no action had been implemented on ground. As the saying goes “better late than never”, in March 2021 India took a major decision to diversify its oil imports and cut its dependency on West Asia. This move was triggered by a sharp drop in the crude oil production and supply shortages by OPEC+ countries.
During March-April 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic being on the peak, quarantines and lockdowns were implemented across the globe, people were confined to the four walls of their houses and opted to travel in private vehicles as opposed to public transports. All this had an adverse impact on the oil industry as oil prices crashed and went as low as 12.22 dollars per barrel (OPEC basket). Amidst these challenging times, India supported Saudi Arabia and bought a huge quantity, 16.71 million barrels of crude oil on the assurance that when the economic conditions get better, Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC+ members will allow India time to recover its economy. This was not just a verbal agreement. This was backed during the G-20 meeting in April 2020 which was represented by India and Saudi Arabia.  The meeting backed the decision of the biggest ever reduction in production supply of crude oil by OPEC+ in order to stabilize the global oil market. At the same meeting it was also decided that Saudi Arabia and OPEC+ members will not increase the crude oil prices significantly and will control the production cuts as well. Both parties reiterated the necessity and maintenance of a stable, affordable and reliable supply of crude oil, which will assist the economic recovery caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with the large-scale vaccination campaign, the global economy had started to recover soon. This in addition to the return of normal life in 2021, oil prices began to rise with a surge in demand curve. To ensure the market doesn’t collapse again in the future, the OPEC+ members decided to increase the production cuts instead of increasing the supply. With crude oil price at 65 dollars per barrel in March 2021, India contested the high reductions in production supply of crude oil by Saudi Arabia. This had no fruitful effect as Saudi Minister refused to increase the production supply and suggested India use crude oil which it bought last year in March at cheaper prices. In addition, Saudi Arabia voluntarily decided to cut an extra 1 million BPD in February and March throughout April further contributing to elevated crude oil prices. The petrol prices in India kept increasing and skyrocketed at 100 rupees per litre due to high prices and high consumption.
In response to Saudi’s refusal to increase production supply, India decided to go ahead and purchase Crude oil from different countries. The Indian government asked state-owned oil marketing companies to purchase oil from different destinations and cut its reliance on West Asia, Saudi Arabia in particular. India started cutting its oil imports from Saudi aggressively. Soon, USA replaced Saudi Arabia and became India’s 2nd biggest oil exporter whereas Saudi Arabia plunged to No. 4 for the first time in a decade.  The decision of state-owned refineries to buy 36% less crude oil from Saudi Arabia in May hit the news next. Amidst India’s decision to diversify its imports, Saudi Arabia augmented the cost of shipping by 20-25 cents per barrel, raising the total cost of crude oil for Importers in Asia to 1.8 dollars over the benchmark price.  Whereas the shipping price remained the same for northwestern European countries and America.
Impact:
Even though India has decided to cut its dependency on Saudi Arabia for its crude oil imports, it has not stopped importing crude oil altogether. It still continues to purchase crude oil from Saudi Arabia even though the quantity has decreased. For the longest period in history Saudi Arabia’s top priority was to manage and maintain diplomatic and commercial relations with Europe and the United States of America, but with India unleashing its “oil weapon”, Saudi Arabia will have to shift its focus towards sustaining diplomatic, political and economic relations with India. India’s diversification has proved to be a disappointment to Saudi’s global market share. If India successfully diversifies its imports without any consequences to the economy while maintaining its autonomous relationship with Saudi Arabia, it could lead as an example for more south Asian consumers who are dependent on West Asia, reshaping the geopolitics and trading routes.
In addition, India started to buy crude oil from new destinations including the United States, Norway, Brazil, and Guyana. In February, US crude oil imports rose to 48%, accounting for 14% of India’s total imports. Apart from already being strategic partners, the Crude oil trade has added new vitality to the India-US partnership. The entrance of Guyana into the Indian oil market is expected to take India-Guyana relations to newer heights. Both the countries already share historical and cultural ties. Recent Bilateral relations have also developed significantly: Oil trade will further strengthen collaboration between the two countries thus opening up various investment and trade opportunities.  Marking January 2021, India and Brazil entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in cooperation of Oil and gas field. With India’s new oil relationship with Brazil, this MoU proposes to expand cooperation in oil and natural gas exploration and production, as well as promote cooperation in energy policies. As India continues to purchase crude oil from Norway’s John Sverdrup, the relationship between India and Norway is assumed to attain new frontiers.
 
CONCLUSION
India is working towards emerging as a global power and Saudi Arabia has its desire to remain the dominant player in the west Asian and OPEC+ region. To nurture these ambitious visions both countries will need each other’s cooperation to fuel their dreams. India’s oil diversification has not impacted the overall strategic relationship between both countries, as both the countries have a lot to gain from their partnership apart from just the crude oil trade. India needs Saudi Arabia’s foreign investments in the country and Saudi needs India’s continuous supply of various commodities including food items. India-Saudi relations still have a lot of potential in improving the defense and security sectors which if achieved can give a whole new meaning to their relationship. This can only be achieved if both sides continue to make efforts to keep the oil trade issue aside. The two governments can take several steps to further strengthen their partnership such as increase high-level official meetings to improve strategic and political relationships, India can declare and practice a de-hyphenated policy with Saudi Arabia; without the exchange of one commodity affecting the overall relationship, both countries can engage in mutually benefitted foreign investments, Indian   Defence Forces and Saudi Defence Forces should engage in joint military exercises and training of troops.
Given that India and Saudi Arabia have sustained and embraced a comprehensive relationship for decades, there are expectations that both countries will contribute towards global and regional peace and cooperation in the future and that will require prioritization of relationships by both countries.
By Sakshi Oza

Understanding Chinese Mindset : A Historical Perspective

INTRODUCTION
China has been known by many names throughout history, but the most traditional name China used to refer to itself is – ‘Zhonggou’ meaning the Middle Kingdom or the Central Kingdom. The name implies the belief that, from a cultural and historical point of view, China is the ‘center’ of the world. China has divided into several independent states thousands of years ago but was united by an emperor. As China became more united, the middle kingdom referred to the actual middleness of these states.  With time the term is used for the entire country as a whole rather than a small area where the emperor used to live.
Today, China is retaking this historical position and is a significant player in the international order. It is pushing and asserting its leadership on this historical ground. To understand the nature and mindset of contemporary China, we need to look back into her history full of culture and prosperity, and the subsequent humiliation by Western powers.
ANCIENT CHINA
Ancient China was well ahead of its time, and this is an understatement. The Chinese had already built powerful bellows around 2500 years ago when the Western people did not even understand the processes involved in melting scrap metal, which could lift the temperature of furnaces high enough to allow multi-ton iron projects to be started. During the reign of the Tang Dynasty, gunpowder was invented in 850 AD; it then spread across the rest of Eurasia, after which it soon came into contact with the Europeans and the Middle East. Gunpowder’s invention in China is still heralded as one of the Four Greatest Inventions of all time since this accidental invention has now become the staple means of security for nations worldwide. The other three of the four greatest inventions are the compass (206 BC), paper making (105 AD), and movable type printing (960 AD). Another invention that has made humanity’s survival more organized was the invention of the mechanical clock during the reign of the Song Dynasty which, albeit famous, did not go down history as renowned as the other four prominent Chinese Dynasties: Shang, Zhou, Qin, and Han.
Ancient China had a system of independent states for over five hundred years, between around 770 and 221 BC. After a relatively peaceful and philosophical Spring and Autumn period, several states were at war to gain control over China. The warring states period ended with Qin’s conquest, the emperor from which the name China arrives. Qin emerged victoriously and was able to unify all other states under one china, so this conquest is described as the process of unification. Since then several dynasties have ruled China, remaining unified as an empire.
The idea of the Mandate of Heaven was used by Han emperors to create a powerful, centralized monarchy. The Chinese during the era of the Han dynasty had also introduced the concept of civil service or at least a prototype of the exams which would judge applicants based on their command over history, literature, and philosophy. They also built the silk road to protect their Empire from nomads of inner Asia, whom they considered barbarians or uncivilized.
Mongol Empire invaded China in 1279 but was defeated by the Mings, who were again able to unify China. During their period China embarked on maritime expeditions to India, Indonesia, Arabia, and Africa. Trade with the Europeans was done in exchange for silver.
The succeeding dynasty and the last dynasty was the Qing Dynasty which was founded in 1644. They expanded the Chinese Empire by conquering Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan, and Mongolia. But this was the time when western countries were also strengthening.
However, this was the period when western imperialism was expanding and gaining control. Qing Dynasty clashed with western powers which ultimately led to its downfall and also the end of the dynasty rule in China.
CENTURY OF HUMILIATION
The Qing Dynasty came into power in the 17th century. Britain was fascinated with Chinese tea and other products and decided to expand trade ties with China to purchase these products. The Chinese, however, refused the bid, claiming that their Empire owns everything and that there is no need to import the products of the outside barbarians in return for their goods. However, via the city of Canton (Guangzhou), a small amount of trade with foreign countries was still carried out, and the Canton system acted as a way of managing and regulating trade with the West. Britain was dissatisfied with the scheme and wanted the restricted exchange to scale up. Opium from India was one thing that the British decided to offer, and China could not refuse it. China soon became addicted. The East India Company was exclusively responsible for the trade of opium. The Qing emperor soon realized the serious consequences, and he decided to send Commissioner Lin Zeu to Canton to stop the trade of opium. This inevitably led to a conflict known as the First Opium War and the beginning of the century of humiliation between Britain and China.
With its modern ships and technology, Britain was able to defeat China. The defeat of the Qing Dynasty came as a massive blow. The Nanking Treaty was concluded by both countries in the aftermath of the war, under which Hong Kong acceded to Britain. By providing additional privileges to extend its trade and settlement ports in China, the treaty strongly favored Britain. China was unhappy with the unequal arrangements, and the Second Opium War (1956-1960) between the two nations soon broke out, but more Western powers, including France, Russia, and the USA, supported Britain this time. Trade rights were also sought from China by the other forces involved.
Japan also fought with the Qing Dynasty in 1894 over the dominance of Korea. China was once again defeated because Japan invaded and seized control of Taiwan. Internally, the people of China, were not satisfied with the status quo and anti-foreign feelings contributed to a youth uprising, known as the Boxer rebellion. the rebellion was also suppressed by the armies of many foreign countries. All these factors led to the Qing dynasty’s eventual collapse in 1911. This ended the long history of the rule of the dynasty in China.
The Republic of China was founded after the fall of the Qing Dynasty under the leadership of the Nationalist People’s Party, also known as the Kuomintang(KMT), led by Chang Kai Shek. China was forced into World War II soon after its establishment and lost the Shantung Peninsula to Japan. Young people were upset, and communist ideologies were gaining prominence. Among those attracted was Mao Zedong, who later led the KMT against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The two parties claimed to be the real Chinese government, which kicked off a civil war in China.
Fast forward to the Sino-Japanese War II when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1933, both the parties fought together against Japan. Also were supported by the Allied Powers who condemned this action of Japan. Consequently, Japan invaded Pearl Harbour in 1941 and ultimately the USA retaliated by dropping atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending the Second World War. But the civil war in China continued. CCP emerged victoriously and the Nationalists had to retreat to Taiwan. And the Republic of China- mainland China became the People’s Republic of China, China that we know today.
MODERN CHINA AND THE MIDDLE KINGDOM MENTALITY
In 1949, Mao Zedong founded the People’s Republic of China. Mao believed that only if it discarded its past could China be free and powerful. He blamed its weakness on Chinese society and tried to introduce a new spirit of Chinese nationalism with it. Under Mao, Chinese policies had a vision and purpose to expand influence by improving the domestic economy and military so that it could be stronger to strike back against the great powers that have victimized China in the past century. The drastic measures resulted in anarchy but kept  China was independent and unified as well.
The CPC still respected Mao after he died, but the majority of the party did not consider his choices to be right. While they understood that a man like Mao needed to unite China under the rule of one government, they were unable to turn China into a world power. His successor, Deng Xiaoping, then brought extreme changes by opening up the Chinese economy, which changed China drastically. . Chinese economy began to grow at double-digit rates. . He advocated the ‘hiding and binding’ strategy, which implies that China should maintain a low-key role and continue to expand its development. This approach helped China to develop when big powers, including the United States, developed trade ties with China.
When President Xi Jinping came into power, things took a turn. He is known for his assertion and authority, unlike the previous strategy of hiding and biding. He vowed to restore China, to its ancient prominence and glory, which is expressed in his actions.
China became a central player in the international arena under Xi Jinping. With national pride, Xi seeks to set legitimacy. Under Xi, China is engaged in aggressive actions in the seas of South and East China, reversing the U.S. security alliance in the Asia Pacific, and has launched the Belt and Silk Road Project to be the core of the world as a way to return its ancient dominance.  The rise which was peaceful two decades ago is now aggressive, and the world is trying to confront this new global power.    By supporting the Chinese dream, Xi has made it clear that China will be stronger and prosperous in the future, and he will make this happen in his way!
CONCLUDING REMARKS
History teaches us a lot and should not be ignored. Ancient China was the oldest civilization in the world, and perhaps the most advanced. The main inventions were made long before they reached the west, but they were used by the west to conquer the east and the rest of the world. It can be inferred that China was incapacitated by the West like other colonies, but China has not forgotten its ancient origins, unlike others. There seems to be no reason for Chinese geopolitical aggression today when the world has changed and is in a different setting. What appears, though, is that history repeats itself, and it all comes down to the nature of man and the nature of his thought. Today the world is cultivating anti-China sentiments, but one thing looks certain, how much slower the process gets, China will continue on its path of gaining its ancient supremacy.

India- Afghanistan Trade Relations and it’s Potential

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India and Afghanistan have shared economic ties for thousands of years and the understanding of trade between the two countries is crucial to get an insight into what is a historical Central and South Asian connection. The biggest example of this historical connection which is embedded in the cultural psyche of both countries is Rabindranath Tagore’s work called Kabuliwala. The Afghan president Ashraf Ghani said in 2015 that “Rabindranath Tagore’s famous short story Kabuliwala has contributed more to brand Afghanistan which it could not do with billions of dollars.”
India has been an inseparable part of the larger picture of the trade originating from and passing through Afghanistan. It will be crucial for us to look into the current trade relationship between India and Afghanistan to assess the situation better. As of now, India is Afghanistan’s second-largest export partner with a share of 40 per cent and bilateral trade between the two countries crossed the US$ 1.5 billion mark in the previous financial year. The prospect for a better-developed trade relationship between the two countries looks promising but is also daunting at the same time. The biggest hurdle in scaling the trade to new heights is geography. Afghanistan’s history and its present have been determined to a large extent by its geography as it is a landlocked country. Afghanistan has been the centre of trade routes towards South Asia from Central and West Asia. The only feasible land route to Afghanistan from India is through the Wagah-Attari border which cuts across the length and breadth of Pakistan. The task of securing the support of the Pakistani establishment for unhindered trade between India and Afghanistan seems impossible looking at the tenuous bilateral relations between India and Pakistan. This problem leaves us with the question -what alternatives are to be used in the presence of a hostile neighbour?
One alternative is developing direct connectivity with Afghanistan by bypassing Pakistan. To this effect, India is working on the Chahabar port in Iran to get land connectivity to Afghanistan so that the goods can be shipped from the Indian ports to the Chahabar port and then via the land route to Afghanistan. However, the development of Chahabar port so far has been plagued with delays.
As we know, Afghanistan is primarily an agriculture-based economy and therefore relies heavily on imports and foreign aid to keep its economy afloat. There is an urgent need for Afghanistan to become more self-reliant and the most feasible way to do that would be to encourage investment in the country and create local jobs. Afghanistan needs to take advantage of its geographic location by aiming to become a transit hub for energy and goods trade. However, this can be achieved only with political stability in the country and the frequently changing power equations within Afghanistan are a hurdle for achieving economic prosperity.
The impending US retreat from Afghanistan will have important ramifications for the numerous development projects currently being developed in the region. The TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) project will most likely get impacted from these upcoming political changes. The project was envisaged to transport natural gas from Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan, connecting the Central Asian energy reserves to the emerging and densely populated South Asian market. The future of this project currently hangs in limbo because the project can not proceed without the completion of the talks between the US and the Taliban. Even if an agreement is reached between the two parties, it will be interesting to see if different parties in Afghanistan accept that agreement and honour their share of the bargain.
It is in India’s interest to see a developed and prosperous Afghanistan to ensure peace and stability in its neighbourhood. India is a significant trading partner for Afghanistan and several steps have been taken to facilitate economic engagement between the two countries. India removed basic customs duties for all products of Afghanistan except tobacco and alcohol giving them duty-free access to the Indian market. The signing of the India-Afghanistan strategic partnership agreement in 2011 was another step towards affirming Indian commitment to Afghanistan and the stability of its government.
Indian foreign policy in Afghanistan has always been proactive and Afghanistan is one of the few countries where India has been able to achieve some success in securing its strategic interests. However, there is a long way to go in Afghanistan for India and a reworking of the Indian diplomatic approach is required to consolidate the gains already made. India needs to have a more direct and forward-moving policy in Afghanistan which is not influenced by its inhibitions from the Non-alignment era.
The US withdrawal will alter the polity of Afghanistan in a significant manner and the time is ripe for India to create a space for itself as a permanent stakeholder in Afghanistan as opposed to the ambiguous stance it has maintained so far. There is an urgent need to develop the link via Iran by pouring in more investment to create a reliable railroad network because this link can be the only feasible route for India to gain inroads into Afghanistan. Given the current state of relations with Pakistan, there is almost no hope that trade via Wagah-Attari will achieve significant volumes in the foreseeable future.
India also has an advanced food processing and packaging industry which can be used to Afghanistan’s advantage as the majority of Indian exports from Afghanistan are food articles i.e. primarily dry fruits and nuts. There is a need for special focus on this aspect for our bilateral trade because India is already a huge market for Afghan Agri products. If we can provide state of the art packing and processing facilities to their products, a value chain can be created which is beneficial to both the economies in terms of monetary gains and job creation.
In conclusion, it is important to reiterate that India is an indispensable player in Afghanistan and a strategic partner which is very important for the solidification of an Afghan nation-state.
India and Afghanistan share a historical connection and India’s ability to capitalize on that connection to improve its ties with Afghanistan has been impressive so far. However, India needs to play a more proactive role regarding its trade ties with Afghanistan and the first step has to be taken by bolstering an effective trade and communications route bypassing Pakistan. There is a need to streamline the current decision-making process and regular talks with regional Afghan power holders will be beneficial. The trade between the two countries has immense potential to grow and a prosperous Afghanistan is in India’s best interests.

Command Centre : A Coordination Unit and A Priority Formation

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Author: Manmeet Singh Arora
Research Coordinator, GCTC
Areas of interest: Intelligence Analysis, Counter intelligence studies, Terrorism Studies, Legal Analytics and Court Administration
 
 
A command centre is also called a war room or a situation room where there is a centralized command for decision making and passing it off for executive action. Earlier it was limited for military functions but now it has moved from Government to board rooms where important actionable decisions are taken considering the Real Time Data which is made available to the panel of decision makers to act in time and respond to inquiries, and synthesize opinions to determine the best course of action.
 
The historical facts surrounding the centre:
In the Cold War era, the Government of Canada undertook the construction of “Emergency Government Headquarters”, to be used in the event of nuclear warfare or other large-scale disaster. Canada was generally allied with the United States for the duration of the war, was a founding member of NATO, allowed American cruise missiles to be tested in the far north, and flew sovereignty missions in the Arctic. For these reasons, the country was often seen as being a potential target of the Soviets and extensive post-attack plans were drawn up for use in emergencies, and fallout shelters were built all across the country for use as command centres for governments of all levels.
In the year 1961, when John Kennedy was  the  President in the White House he had a situation, but no Situation Room or Command centre was available. President Kennedy was confused with the flow of intelligence into the Oval Office and tits and bits of information which does not seem collated and was not in the form of a finished product for the President to act upon. The president decided to have such a facility as a Command Centre which he later named as a Situation Room and put his own naval aide in charge of construction, a group of contractors who worked at night to convert the mansion’s basement bowling alley into what into famous ultra-secure workspace called the White House Situation Room.
Previously various spots were selected for their most sensitive communications, from Lincoln’s late-night visits to the telegraph office next door to the White House to Roosevelt’s in-house World War II command centre and in the mansion’s Map Room.
But after the incident of the failed Bay of Pigs operation, President Kennedy wanted an efficient movement of critical information in and out of the White House. The equipment and Protocols for the Functioning of the Command Centre called Situation Room has evolved within years into an Automatic facility with most advanced cables to filter information. The Duty officers of the White Office work around the clock in the space sift through intelligence feeds for the president’s daily briefing. And when a crisis strikes, it becomes a secure communications centre with global reach.
 
The Early Command Centre styled as Situation Room
The “The Situation Room” is in a small suite, consisting of three conference rooms and a duty watch station. From the Open Sources it confirms that the Chairs seem to be placed according to Hierarchy and the power it seems to be emanating from the ambience of the room is mesmerising as to how great minds work together to solve world’s greatest problems and intervene into global scenarios. It can be termed as Presidents Intelligence Room were timely information flows and the collated information is streamed and acted upon as and when situation arises. It is Located next to the White House mess, the Situation Room has been the scene of some of modern history’s most fraught moments. At the end of his presidency, Jimmy Carter spent endless hours in the room negotiating futilely for the release of American hostages in Iran. A few days before he left office, according to Bohn, Dennis Chapman, director of the Situation Room, delivered some papers to the president. Carter, worn out by his difficult term in office, put his arm around Chapman and said, “You know Dennis, the Situation Room is the only part of the government that never let me down. The catalogue of crisis moments is in the very air of a space that is the most secure corner of one of the world’s most secure buildings. One can always feel the weight of history in that room,” said Pete Souza, the White House photographer during the Obama administration.
The Modern Version of Command Centre as War Room and its Function
As machines have continued to get smaller and become more powerful, it’s possible to have a very minimal command centre composed of a few devices and a desk, for example. For some facilities, a simple and smartly integrated setup may be all that is needed. However, in other facilities, much more elaborate setups are necessary to maintain full control of audio-visual components, whether for use in monitoring separate systems and subsystems in completely different locations, or other more complicated tasks. all audio-visual systems benefit from consultation and input from audio-visual integrators, larger centralized hubs in particular require the assistance of skilled and experienced audio-visual integrators for maximum efficiency and optimization. As a result, an experienced audio-visual crew is paramount in avoiding any problems along the way and should be consulted during the planning stages of any such system. Complex control centres require planning, with special consideration for far-reaching technical considerations, and long-term support to make sure that everything keeps running per concept, every day of the year.
Transformation in Command Centres
Command Centre transformation confronts increased operational demands with the number and simultaneity of missions categorically requiring agile command and control functions, robust planning and execution processes, conformable organizations, and a responsive information and knowledge management disposition and arrangement. A number of command centre transformation projects aimed at countering stove piped conventions unwittingly continue to protract them.
war room (also known as a situation room, command centre or control room) is a centralized meeting space where project teams and stakeholders can co-locate and visually communicate project activities.
 
The idea of a war room is to physically gather the entire team into a ‘single location’ to facilitate communication, problem-solving, risk mitigation and status reporting.  The single location can be physical, virtual or some combination of the two based on the specifics of the organization’s structure. War-room communication includes data visualization of key performance metrics such as budget, schedule, issues, risks and overall project health.
The walls of such rooms are covered with sticky notes, photos, wireframes, and user interface designs. Data, insights, and ideas associated with the project are made physically available to see, touch, organize and start synthesizing ideas.
An ideal Command Centre or a Situation Room should have a mission statement and perform certain functions such as:

  • Collecting and Monitoring information as feed which is received as a end product
  • Data processing in different forms where the collected feed is filtered for information and used as an actionable intelligence
  • The feed so collected must come from the sources from the ground which has a direct bearing to the situation at hand
  • It acts as Crisis support Centre during the time where situation involves national emergency and the real time data is the game changer
  • The persons deployed in the Command centre must be encouraged to share their ideas and collective responsibility in sharing each other expertise helps in solving the crisis
  • The hierarchy system of information sharing should be discouraged because it creates an environment of conflicts of ego which distorts the clear vision of information coordination
  • The Command Centre should have all sets of High-tech electronics equipment to provide real time data/ feed to the centre and the instructions can be easily send across the ground where the situational Crisis is going on
  • The Central Command Centre can be connected to a network of Centres for carrying out instructions from the ground and sending back the results of the action taken with the established resources.
  • The intelligence cycle is in form of complete domain in the Command centres if the Standard Operating procedure are followed properly, it should act as a one stop centre for information which organises the distorted data in to meaningful intelligence
  • Every Command Centre should be equipped with a Map room in form of study of geoinformatics or Aerial Reconnaissance

 
The Command Centre and its Reporting Standards
Every Command centre needs a reporting standard to write reports in the form of summaries of important events keeping in view the latest developments in international affairs. The daily report should contain overviews of incoming cables/information in form of items of interest so that the supreme commander or authority knows which issues require attention and how the situation needs to be dealt, in this exercise he may call for more information on the subject if he feels that he needs to be informed well to broach the subject before the entity with whom he is dealing.
Asking the right question is an edge for an authority and the underlying issues need attention, the command centre does the same with zero in the information, acts as an early warning system connects the dots and with adequate evidence forms the actionable policy to be followed by the leaders and person in common. The bureaucratic setup must take the benefit of these reports and share information with different departments of the government under a mission statement.
 
Recent Trends of formation of Command centre by the Indian Government
During this Covid pandemic many states in India have formed Covid Command centres as early warning systems to carry out the Surveillance of spreading of virus and to eradicate and slow down the information the centres deployed with Covid Officers are carrying out the guidelines laid down by government of India from time. The above centres are preparing reports and statistics including a list of those who are infected and those tested positive so that isolation centres can be prepared to maintain social distance. However, this whole exercise needs coordination and information sharing which is still missing when it is seen that the different organs of the government are unable to route the logistical requirements in from of medicines, Oxygen Cylinders, Less No’s of ICU Beds, dearth of doctors and specialist to deal with this pandemic, The Situation here is an endless list of misnomers.
It seems that the government wasn’t properly prepared for the present catastrophe which is man made calamity but what needs to be done at the moment the answer is always hidden between the lines and deep-rooted search, and having situational awareness, Anticipating Surprise and Preparedness will bring about change in the future which requires Analytical thinking and for a finished intelligence product which is the end result of Command Centre for executing real time data and Prompt Action.
 

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