India Jordan Firm up Security Co-operation :-
- India and Jordan on Thursday signed a framework agreement in defence cooperation paving the way for a joint strategy to counter common threats.
Why MoU on Defence Cooperation ?
- The purpose of this MoU is to promote cooperation between India and Jordan by defining the scope of such cooperation and making provisions for implementation of the cooperation in some of the recognised areas like training, defence industry, counter-terrorism, military studies, cyber security, military medical services, peace-keeping etc.
- The defence agreement is the result of broadening security and defence-related dialogue between the two sides.
Jordan provided help in 1991 evacuation
- Amman has provided critical support to India during the 1991 evacuation of citizens from Iraq and also during the latest crises in Iraq and Syria.
A Pact on transfer of Prisoners :-
The Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003 Act :-
- This Act allows convicted foreign nationals a chance to get transferred to their home countries, and prisoners of Indian origin in other states to be brought back to India, to serve the remaining part of their sentences.
- It is based on the belief that being close to their families in their native countries would help prisoners in the process of rehabilitation.
- The Act allows a convicted foreign national to make an application to the Centre to transfer his custody from India to his native country.
- Once the custody is transferred to an official of that country to whom prisoner wants to get transferred and the prisoner escapes from custody within India, any person shall detain the fugitive and produce him before the nearest police station. The convict shall be liable to face the punishment for escape.
- The same conditions would apply for an Indian prisoner transferred here from a foreign country on a warrant. If the sentence of imprisonment passed against the prisoner in that country is found incompatible with Indian law, either regarding its nature or duration, or both, the Centre may make it compatible, by order.
- In 2015, India also acceded to the Council of Europe’s Convention on the transfer of Sentenced Persons of 1983.
WAR & PEACE :-
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of talks with the Taliban is the most comprehensive peace proposal to have come from Kabul since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Kabul Process – Two Day Security Conference :-
- With more than 20 countries including India represented, Mr. Ghani promised to recognise the Taliban as a political party.
- Called for confidence-building measures and asked them to recognise the Kabul regime and the constitution.
- The Taliban was told to open an office in Kabul.
- Passports and Freedom of travel were offered to those involved in negotiations.
Earlier Attempt for Peace with Taliban :-
- In July 2015, Taliban and Afghan government representatives held talks in Pakistan. But the talks collapsed when it emerged that Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died two years earlier.
- Then It was that the Taliban should choose between war and peace.
Now Attempt for Peace :-
- This time the difference is that the Afghan government has come up with a seven-point plan of engagement with the Taliban and invited the group for talks without preconditions.
- Mr. Ghani has not set any time limit for the Taliban to respond.
- He has said the views and proposals of the Taliban would be considered, thereby lobbing the ball into the Taliban’s court.
US with Afghanistan :-
- Mr. Ghani’s offer comes a month after U.S. President Donald Trump ruled out talks with the Taliban.
- The US administration has also committed more troops to Afghanistan.
Reasons for Talks :-
- After more than 16 years of war, the Afghan government is helplessly watching the Taliban spread its influence across rural areas.
- Taliban has established a strong presence in almost two-thirds of Afghanistan
- Over the years the U.S. had tried tactics including a troops surge, putting pressure on Pakistan to use its leverage with the Taliban and promoting secret talks but nothing worked.
- Even Taliban has shown a capacity to strike at the most fortified positions in Kabul but knows it cannot capture the city as long as the Americans remain committed to the government’s security.
If the Taliban accepts Mr. Ghani’s proposal, therefore both sides can have direct negotiations that could set the stage for a constructive engagement between the militants and the government, and provide hope for some much-needed relief to the war-hit Afghan people.
REDUCING THE CARBON FOOTPRINT :-
Ways to fight Carbon :-
India needs to undertake a comprehensive approach, which can be done by establishing an emissions trading scheme (ETS).
What is an ETS ?
- An ETS is a market-based mechanism where a cap is set on the amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that can be emitted by covered entities.
- The emitters can either reduce their emissions to adhere to the cap or buy additional allowances from other entities to compensate for their deficiency.
- One allowance gives the right to the holder to emit one tonne of carbon.
For Example :-
Imagine that ‘X’ emits 120 tonnes of carbon per annum. The ETS sets a cap of 100 tonnes of carbon per annum (equivalent to 100 allowances) on it. ‘X’ would have the option to either reduce its emissions to 100 tonnes of carbon or buy 20 allowances to cover the difference.
Independent Authority job :-
- It must be set up to implement the ETS.
- It also need to ensure that the ETS is insulated from the political influence of climate sceptics.
- The authority must strive to educate emitters about ETS and inform them of cheap methods to reduce their carbon footprint.
- It must act as a ‘technical consultant’ when the emitters submit their ‘compliance plans’.
- It must also plan for contingencies and be ready to use the tools at hand to prevent market failure.
Industries need to be put under ETS :-
- Strategic decisions must be taken with respect to inclusion of industries under the ETS.
- Highly carbon-intensive industries (such as the coal sector) would have to be included under the ETS to maintain its effectiveness.
- With respect to the other industries, State governments must be empowered to add to the list of covered entities after giving due weight to factors such as area-specific emission profiles, financial position of the entities, impact on the economy, and administrative costs.
How to ensure compliance :-
- The ETS must obligate the emitters to design a ‘compliance plan’, setting out its own medium and long-term goals, with an explanation of how it would achieve them.
- Sanctions must be imposed in case of any non-compliance with the given compliance plan by Industries.
- It is imperative to maintain the price of the allowances within a certain desirable range.
Controlling price volatility :-
There are three suggested measures for controlling price volatility :
- Safety valve trigger :-
A ‘safety valve trigger’ is a mechanism whereby, if prices touch a predetermined level, actions are initiated to drive them down.
- Price-based market stability reserve (MSR) :-
In the MSR, a certain number of allowances are released in the market if the price of the allowance hits a predetermined level. Once the additional allowances are released in the carbon market, the supply would increase, leading to a reduction in the price of the allowances.
- Banking :-
It offers respite to the emitters on an individual basis. An emitter, in anticipation of high prices, would be allowed to ‘bank’ his unused allowances for the next compliance period. However, such banking must be restricted to consecutive compliance periods and to a certain percentage of total emissions.
MAPPING CHINESE CENTURY
China Setting the rules in an International Order :-
- China is now beginning to set the rules in accordance with its interests and values.
- China seeking avenues for global dominance, exploiting the weaknesses and inequalities that currently plague the international system.
- China appears unrivalled in Asia at present given its military might and economic power. Since U.S. is seen to be incapable of playing a balancing role in Asian affairs, and to have ceded ground to China.
Look at China ambitions are growing and its interests :-
- The Belt and Road Initiative is only one manifestation of its growing ambitions.
- China is busy turning the South China Sea into its ‘military outpost’. It is setting up several military installations despite opposition from other claimants to rights over the South China Sea.
For Example :-
The Spratly Islands have been transformed into a major stage for military manoeuvres, with the transformation of previously barren reefs into military installations.
- China Communist Party Congress trying to mark a return to the Mao era, as Xi Jinping is now the undisputed and unquestioned leader of both the party and the state which mark a new era — an era of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
- Mr. Xi further talked of China’s pre-eminence in the east and described its rising “comprehensive national power” as leading on to global status and believes China is a big country with extensive economic, military and political might so it expects other smaller countries to accept its leadership.
China becoming an expansionist power :-
China is thus poised to be an expansionist major power — one that aims to create more strategic space that would compel regional powers (India not excluded) to defer to, and accommodate, its wishes.
For Example :-
- The current People’s Liberation Army strategy of moving out into peripheral areas vacated by the U.S. fits in well with such intentions.
- China has already fired its opening salvos shifting focus from the East and South China Seas to the Indian Ocean.
China Relations with India neighbours :-
- Since new govt has been formed in Nepal. The new Prime Minister KP Oli has been an admirer of China & trying to improve relations with China & diminishing with India.
- China has acquired Gwadar Port there & also lays the foundation stone of China Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan & helping Pakistan with alot of investment there.
- The Maldives seems to be moving into China’s orbit. China already has a lookout in the southern-most archipelago of the Maldives and is currently seeking to establish a ‘joint ocean observation station’ in one of the northern atolls, giving China a vantage point overlooking the main shipping lanes in the western Indian Ocean.
India is the only bulwark in Asia to counter Chinese designs and expansionism. It alone can prevent a further expansion of China’s ‘strategic space’ and a Chinese takeover of the entire region.