INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICY WEEKLY REPORT — EDITION #5

INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICY WEEKLY REPORT — EDITION #5

The piping tensions between the two neighbours, India and China were further cooled with the country taking part in the India-China Military Commander-Level Meeting, which resulted in the issuing of a joint press release. India was also party to the India-Russia-China meetings that led to the creation of the Five Point Solution for the border conflict. With the Indian and Chinese relations finally experiencing a detente of sorts, the country has been able to focus its attention on issues further than its territorial borders. India’s resolve to increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific and to ensure the creation of a free and fair region, was further strengthened, owing to the 2nd India-Australia-Japan-USA Ministerial meeting. Lastly, the country used the international platform to make known its views on the issue of cross border and internal terrorism.

Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism

The Republic of India recently participated in the Ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism. The Indian delegation was led by Smt. Vijay Thakur Singh, Ministry of External Affairs. The virtual meeting began with the Indian Secretary conveying a word of gratitude to the Foreign Ministers of Spain and Afghanistan respectively, Co-Chairs of the group and also to the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) for organising the meeting. The Secretary then went onto underscore the importance of dealing with terrorism as an international problem rather than an individual domestic one. She also highlighted that even though the world today has been brought to a standstill, terrorism still continues to pose a threat to International Peace and Security. Throughout the meeting, special emphasis was placed on the rights of the victims of terrorism to get justice for the crimes committed against them. Lastly, the secretary called for redressing deficiencies in the international efforts to ensure that perpetrators of terrorism are swiftly brought to justice. During the meeting, gratitude was also expressed towards the United Nations for establishing August 21 as the ‘ ̃International Day of Remembrance of and tribute to the Victims of Terrorism’.

Press Release of Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers

On the 10th of September, India released a joint press statement, along with the Foreign Minister of Russia, Mr Sergey Lavrov and State Councillor/Foreign Minister of China, Mr Wang Yi. The meeting kicked off with the three ministers expressing their resolve to strengthen the Russia-China-India trilateral cooperation and give importance to issues of international and regional importance. The minister laid emphasis on the fact that cooperation among the three countries is conducive and vital in promoting global growth, peace, stability and more importantly creating an environment of inclusive multilateralism and respect for universally recognized principles of international law. In terms of the recent challenges posed by the COVID- 19 world pandemic, the ministers concurred that the three countries, with strong scientific and industrial capacities, could make a significant contribution towards mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The External Affairs Minister of India and the Foreign Minister of China thanked the Foreign Minister of Russia for the chairmanship of RIC and the conferences organized during the past year. The Foreign Minister of Russia officially handed over the chairmanship of RIC to the External Affairs Minister of India.

13th India-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue

The 13th India-Japan Foreign Ministerial Strategic Dialogues was recently conducted between the Indian Foreign Minister, S. Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart, H.E Mr Motegi Toshimitsu. The meeting was initiated with the two representatives reviewing the progress made in India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership and discussing issues of mutual interests, ranging from maritime security to UN reforms. Having experienced the benefits of technology at a time when the world has experienced a veritable seismic shift towards technology, the two Foreign ministers finalised the text of the Cyber Security Agreement. The agreement looks at promoting cooperation in capacity building, research and development, security and resilience in the areas of Critical Information Infrastructure, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), among others. Lastly, the two Foreign Ministers turned to the issue of the Indo-Pacific that has the entire world riveted. India has time and again, emphasised its belief in establishing the Indo-Pacific as a free and inclusive region. The meeting also led to further discussions on the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative between India, Japan, Australia and other like-minded countries. Lastly, the Japanese side agreed to be the lead partner in the connectivity pillar of the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) and jointly take both countries’ respective visions for the Indo-Pacific forward.

Joint Press Release of the 7th Round of India-China Military Commander-Level Meeting

The 7th round of the Senior Commanders Meeting of India and China was held in Chushul. The meeting mainly focused on the disengagement along the Actual Line of Control in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas. After what was described as a positive and constructive meeting, both sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through their military as well as diplomatic channels. Lastly, both sides agreed to ensure that disagreements in the future do not turn into disputes, securing peace in the region, by maintaining tranquillity in the border areas.

2nd India-Australia-Japan-USA Ministerial Meeting

The Indian Foreign Minister, S. Jaishankar participated in the Second India-Australia-Japan-USA ministerial meeting in Tokyo. The meeting started with a follow up of the talks held in the previous year in September. The four countries called for a coordinated international response, spearheaded by the four nations. They further discussed the post-pandemic world order. The meeting mainly focused on the need to establish best practices to combat the virus, to increase the resilience of the supply chain and fortify the need to enhance the access to affordable vaccines, and medical equipment. Keeping in mind the emergence of the Quad and the importance of the Indo- Pacific, the Foreign Ministers exchanged views about regional and international issues of importance. The representatives re-emphasised their firm support to working towards realising a shared vision for the Indo-Pacific. Alongside the joint ministerial meetings of all the four nations, S. Jaishankar also met with H. E Micheal Pompeo, Secretary of State for the USA, and in the immediate future, will be meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Australia and Japan.

Appointments

The current Ambassador of India to the Republic of Indonesia, Shri Pradeep Kumar Rawat has been replaced by Shri Manoj Kumar Bharti, who served as the Special Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The following appointment comes as a result of Mr Rawat’s appointment as the next Indian Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Lastly, Shri Rahul Shrivastava, who currently serves as the Indian Ambassador of India to Romania, has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador to the Republic of Albania.

Conclusion

The world that we inhibit today is very different from the one that we experienced just over a year ago. Not only have we been dealing with an existential crisis at hand in the form of the COVID 19 pandemic, but as we step into a new decade of the 21st century, we find chaos and confusion governing the four corners of the world, with the coups in countries like Mali and the pitiable state that countries like Nigeria are in. However, the most anticipated event of the year, the US presidential elections are in a fortnight, and it’ll definitely be interesting to see how they shape global politics in the coming years.

Ratnadityasinh Chavda

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