Current Affairs - International

India Protests China's Blocking of Arunachal Pradesh Athletes from Asian Games

India has recently strongly objected to China's deliberate and selective obstruction of three athletes from Arunachal Pradesh, a region claimed by China, preventing them from participating in the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Key Points

  • Arunachal Pradesh Athletes Barred: Three women wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh faced difficulties downloading travel documents from an official Chinese website, preventing their participation in the Asian Games.
  • Meanwhile, the rest of the wushu squad, consisting of ten players, faced no such obstacles and travelled to Hong Kong, with a connecting flight to Hangzhou.
  • Strong Protest Lodged: India lodged a strong protest both in New Delhi and Beijing against China's actions, which were characterized as a "deliberate and selective obstruction" of Indian sportspersons.
  • India-China Relations: This incident occurred amid strained India-China relations, primarily due to the prolonged military standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • Rejection of Differential Treatment: India reiterated its long-standing position of rejecting differential treatment of its citizens based on domicile or ethnicity.
  • Arunachal Pradesh is recognized as an integral and inalienable part of India, despite China's claims.
  • Stapled Visas Controversy: The same three wushu players had previously been unable to compete in the World University Games in Chengdu due to China issuing stapled visas.
  • Stapled visas are considered a signal that China does not recognize India's sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh.

India- China Dispute on Arunachal Pradesh

China's Territorial Claim

  • China asserts ownership of approximately 90,000 sq km of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It refers to this area as "Zangnan" in Chinese and often mentions "South Tibet" in connection with this region.
  • Chinese maps depict Arunachal Pradesh as part of China and occasionally label it as "so-called Arunachal Pradesh."
  • China periodically reinforces this unilateral claim to Indian territory, including by assigning Chinese names to places in Arunachal Pradesh.

China’s Argument for Claiming These Areas

  • China disputes the legal status of the McMahon Line, which demarcated the border between Tibet and British India through the Simla Convention (also known as the 'Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet') of 1914.
  • During the Shimla Convention, China was represented by a delegate from the Republic of China.
  • The Chinese representative did not provide consent to the Shimla Convention, contending that Tibet lacked the independent authority to engage in international agreements.
  • The McMahon Line, named after Henry McMahon, the principal British negotiator in Shimla, extended from the eastern Bhutan border to the Isu Razi pass along the China-Myanmar boundary.
  • China asserts territorial rights to the south of the McMahon Line, encompassing parts of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Additionally, China justifies its claims by referring to historical connections between monasteries in Tawang and Lhasa.

Origin of the Border Dispute with China

  • Following the Communist Party's ascent to power in China, the country withdrew from all international agreements and "unequal treaties" imposed during its "century of humiliation."
  • China demanded renegotiation of its borders.
  • The border between China and India has remained un-delineated.

Line of Actual Control (LAC)

  • The LAC separates Indian-administered areas from Chinese-administered territories.
  • It comprises three sectors: Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim), Middle (Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh), and Western (Ladakh).
  • India and China hold different views on the LAC's alignment.
  • India defines the LAC as approximately 3,488 km long, while China estimates it to be around 2,000 km.

Quad Foreign Ministers Reaffirm Commitment to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific

On 22nd September, 2023, the Foreign Ministers of the Quad nations – Australia, India, Japan, and the United States – convened in New York during the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, where they underscored their dedication to a "free and open Indo-Pacific."

Key Points

  • Common Ground Reinforced: During the meeting, the four top diplomats reemphasized their shared objectives and assessed the progress of the Quad's ongoing initiatives.
  • Initiatives like the Quad Infrastructure Fellowships Program and the Quad Partnership for Cable Connectivity and Resilience were discussed.
  • Secure Telecommunications Network: Efforts to develop a secure and trustworthy telecommunications network were addressed.
  • Maritime Domain Awareness: The ministers discussed the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness, designed to assist regional countries in combating illegal maritime activities and responding to climate-related events.
  • Counter-terrorism: Counter-terrorism efforts were among the topics of discussion, reflecting the Quad's commitment to regional security.
  • Geopolitical Crises: The ministers addressed various geopolitical crises, including ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Myanmar, as well as North Korea's ballistic missile launches.

India Global Forum and World Governments Summit Join Forces for Emerging Economies Programme

Recently, India Global Forum and World Governments Summit have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the Emerging Economies Programme, a significant endeavour aimed at fostering sustainable economic growth and development in the Global South.

Key Points

  • Fostering Sustainable Growth: The Emerging Economies Programme is a testament to the collaborative commitment of India Global Forum and World Governments Summit.
  • It is geared towards promoting sustainable economic growth and development in the Global South.
  • High-Level Engagement: The programme will serve as a platform to convene key stakeholders, including government officials, business leaders, economists, and experts.
  • It will facilitate high-level discussions on topics such as sustainable economic growth, geo-economic perspectives, and innovative solutions.
  • Thought Leadership and Research: The partnership will emphasize cultivating and nurturing thought leadership.
  • It will involve producing research on emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities specific to the Global South.
  • Enhancing Data for Future Governments: The programme will also work on progressively enhancing data related to the region, ensuring that future governments have access to valuable insights.
  • About India Global Forum: India Global Forum plays a crucial role in narrating India's contemporary story. It serves as a gateway for businesses and nations looking to engage with the rapidly changing and growing Indian market.
  • About World Governments Summit: The World Governments Summit Organization is a global, impartial, non-profit entity dedicated to shaping the future of governments.

ADB Revises India's GDP Growth Projection for 2022-2023

Recently, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) adjusted India's gross domestic product (GDP) projection for the fiscal year 2022-2023, lowering it from 6.4 percent to 6.3 percent due to factors such as slowing exports and the potential impact of erratic rainfall on agricultural output.

Key Points

  • This adjustment is attributed to concerns over declining exports and the possible adverse effects of irregular rainfall on agriculture.
  • Steady Growth for 2023-2024: The GDP projection for the current fiscal year, 2023-2024, remains at 6.7 percent.
  • This optimism is based on expectations of rising private investment and industrial output driving economic growth during this period.
  • Drivers of Growth: The Asian Development Outlook for September 2023 predicts that India's growth for the remainder of this fiscal year and the next will be primarily propelled by robust domestic consumption due to improving consumer confidence. Investment, including increased government capital expenditure, will also contribute to this growth.
  • Downside Risks: ADB identifies downside risks, including global geopolitical tensions that could create economic uncertainty or lead to a rapid increase in global food prices.
  • Additionally, adverse weather conditions during the kharif (July-October) and rabi (October-April) seasons may further impact agricultural growth.
  • Potential Upside: The report suggests that economic growth in FY25 could surpass expectations if there is a significant increase in foreign direct investment, especially in the manufacturing sector, as multinational corporations diversify their supply chains to include India.

India Issues Strong Travel Advisory for Canadian Citizens amid Diplomatic Tensions

India has recently issued a robust travel advisory to its citizens in Canada, warning of potential "politically condoned hate crimes," following recent allegations linking New Delhi to the assassination of a Sikh separatist activist on Canadian soil.

Key Points

  • Concerns over Targeted Threats: India’s Ministry of External Affairs has raised concerns about targeted threats against Indian diplomats and segments of the Indian community opposing anti-India agendas in Canada.
  • Deteriorating Security Environment: The advisory emphasizes the deteriorating security situation in Canada and advises Indian students to exercise extreme caution and vigilance.
  • Registration with Indian Authorities: Indian nationals and students are urged to register with the High Commission of India or Consulates General of India in Toronto and Vancouver for better communication in case of emergencies.
  • Suspension of Visa Services: Visa consultancy service BLS International, responsible for processing Indian visa applications in Canada, announced the suspension of visa services for Canadian citizens, citing "operational reasons."
  • Diplomatic Tensions: The travel advisory comes in the wake of a diplomatic rift between Canada and India, triggered by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's claims of investigating potential links between "agents of the government of India" and the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh Canadian citizen.
  • Terrorist Organizations: India categorizes several groups associated with the Khalistan movement as "terrorist organizations" under its Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Issue of Khalistan Movement

  • Demand for a Sikh Homeland: The Khalistan movement represents a demand for a distinct homeland for Sikhs, known as Khalistan (the land of the Khalsa).
  • Historical Background: The movement gained momentum in the 1980s due to widespread dissatisfaction among Sikhs in post-independence India regarding economic, social, and political conditions.
  • Roots in Partition: The partition of Punjab between Pakistan and India in 1947 left the Sikh community divided between a Muslim-majority Pakistan and a predominantly Hindu India, leading to disaffection.
  • 1966 Division: Punjab was further divided along linguistic lines in 1966 when the Hindi-speaking state of Haryana was created, exacerbating the Sikh community's sense of division.
  • Green Revolution Impact: India's Green Revolution in the late 1960s, aimed at improving agricultural production, created resentment among Sikhs due to wealth inequality, lack of non-agricultural development, and centralized agricultural policy.
  • Water Dispute: The diversion of water from the Sutlej River away from Punjab to neighboring states intensified Sikh grievances.
  • Leadership of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale: In the late 1970s, Sikh preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale emerged as a prominent leader, claiming discrimination against Sikhs and an erosion of Sikh identity by the Indian government. Bhindranwale established a parallel government in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.
  • Operation Bluestar: In response to Bhindranwale's presence in the Golden Temple, the Indian army conducted Operation Bluestar in June 1984, further angering the Sikh population.
  • 1984 Anti-Sikh Violence: Following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in November 1984, over 2,700 Sikhs (according to government estimates) were killed in violent attacks in New Delhi, intensifying the period of violence in Punjab.
  • Resurgence in Recent Years: The Khalistan movement resurfaced in recent years, notably during the farmer protests in New Delhi in 2020–21. Some supporters advocated for its revival, leading to renewed debates on the issue.
  • Transnational Character: The Khalistan movement has a transnational character, with significant support from the Sikh diaspora in countries like Canada, the UK, and Australia.
  • Air India Bombing: Sikh organizations based in Canada were blamed for the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight from Toronto to London, resulting in 329 deaths. One acquitted suspect in the attack was later shot dead in Canada.
  • Allegations of Canadian Support: The Indian government has accused Canada of providing a safe haven for Khalistani militants and extremists, leading to tensions in India-Canada relations.
  • Public Referendums: Public referendums on the creation of an independent Khalistan state have been held in Canada, the UK, Australia, and other countries, further straining diplomatic ties.
  • Recent Tensions: Recent tensions between India and Canada include the pause in talks on a free-trade agreement and a frosty exchange between the leaders of both countries at the G20 summit.

Ceasefire Violation Accusations amid Nagorno-Karabakh Peace Talks

Ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh have recently alleged ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan as peace negotiations commence, while Baku vehemently denies the claims as "completely false."

Key Points

  • Talks amid Tensions: Delegations from both sides engage in talks in the Azeri city of Yevlakh, following a recently reached ceasefire agreement that could potentially end decades-long aspirations for Nagorno-Karabakh's independence from Baku.
  • Nagorno-Karabakh's Status: While Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, it is predominantly inhabited by 120,000 ethnic Armenians.
  • The region has been a longstanding point of contention between Baku and Yerevan, resulting in two previous wars.
  • Casualty Figures: The Nagorno-Karabakh office for human rights reports over 200 ethnic Armenian deaths, including 10 civilians, during the recent fighting. Independent verification of the death toll remains pending.
  • Disarmament and Integration: Azerbaijan demands that separatist political authorities in Karabakh disband before discussing the region's future, aiming for full integration.
  • Uncertain Future: The question of how Azerbaijan will address the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh remains a central concern amid claims of Azerbaijani victory over the region.
  • Historical Context: Nagorno-Karabakh's tumultuous history includes periods under the influence of Persians, Turks, Russians, Ottomans, and Soviets, adding complexity to the region's dynamics.

12th Malaysia-India Defence Cooperation Committee Meeting

On 19th September, 2023, India and Malaysia convened in New Delhi for the 12th Malaysia-India Defence Cooperation Committee (MIDCOM) meeting, where they discussed various aspects of their defence cooperation and regional concerns.

Key Points

  • Establishment of a Strategic Affairs Working Group (SAWG): Both nations explored ways to strengthen bilateral defence engagement.
  • An agreement was reached to create a Strategic Affairs Working Group (SAWG).
  • SAWG will serve as a consultative mechanism to comprehensively handle all aspects of defence cooperation between India and Malaysia.
  • Focus Areas: Emerging areas of cooperation, including cybersecurity, and global commons issues were addressed.
  • Both nations emphasized collaboration in defence industry, maritime security, and multilateral initiatives.
  • Defence Industry Collaboration: Malaysia expressed confidence in India's defence industry capabilities, especially in shipbuilding and maintenance.
  • Enhanced Strategic Partnership: India and Malaysia reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the Enhanced Strategic Partnership, grounded in mutual trust and shared democratic values.
  • Significance: The meeting signifies the deepening defence ties between Malaysia and India.

UN Secretary-General Calls for Global Plan to Revive SDGs

Recently, UN Secretary-General emphasized the urgency of a global plan to reinvigorate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are significantly behind schedule in achieving their 2030 targets.

Key Points

  • Challenges Ahead: UN Secretary General addressed world leaders at a high-level forum in the UN, where a political declaration was adopted to expedite efforts toward the 17 SDGs.
  • Slow Progress: Despite their adoption in 2015 with a pledge to "leave no one behind," only 15% of the 169 targets within the 17 SDGs are currently on track, while some are regressing.
  • Ambitious Action: The political declaration presents an opportunity to accelerate SDG progress. It includes a commitment to financing developing countries, support for a proposed SDG Stimulus of at least $500 billion annually, and an effective debt-relief mechanism.
  • Reforming Finance: The declaration also advocates reforming the business model of multilateral development banks to offer more affordable private finance for developing nations and reforming the international finance architecture.

Key Areas of Focus

  • Hunger Alleviation: Addressing hunger is a top priority, as millions of people continue to suffer from food insecurity.
  • Renewable Energy Transition: The transition to renewable energy needs to accelerate.
  • Quality Education: Ensuring quality education for children and youth is vital.
  • Decent Work and Social Protection: Creating decent jobs and extending social protection are essential.
  • Protecting the Environment: Combating climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss is critical.
  • Gender Equality: Promoting gender equality and ending gender-based violence are integral to achieving these goals.

Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Sign Mutual Defence Pact to Combat Terrorism

Recently, military leaders from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have jointly signed a mutual defence pact, known as the Liptako-Gourma Charter, with the aim of establishing a collective defence and mutual assistance framework against terrorism and insecurity in the Sahel region.

Key Points

  • Formation of Alliance of Sahel States (AES): Military leaders from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have signed the Liptako-Gourma Charter to establish the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).
  • Shared Goal: The AES aims to create an architecture of collective defence and mutual assistance to benefit the populations of these Sahel countries.
  • Region of Concern: The Liptako-Gourma region, where the borders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger converge, has faced significant challenges due to jihadist activities in recent years.
  • Primary Objective: The key priority is to collectively combat terrorism within the territories of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
  • ECOWAS Concern: The West African regional bloc ECOWAS had threatened military intervention in Niger following a coup in July.
  • Declaration of War Warning: In response, Mali and Burkina Faso warned that any such operation would be considered a "declaration of war" against them.
  • Mutual Defence Commitment: The Liptako-Gourma Charter binds the signatory countries to provide mutual assistance, including military support, in the event of an attack on any of them.

Challenges Ahead

  • Security Challenges: Mali has been dealing with jihadist threats from groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, as well as renewed hostilities by predominantly Tuareg armed groups.
  • Complex Security Landscape: The escalation of military activities in the region presents challenges for Mali's stretched army and raises questions about the junta's claims of improving security.
  • Peace Agreement Status: The 2015 peace agreement between Mali and Tuareg armed groups is considered largely ineffective.
  • Jihadist Presence: Besides Tuareg-related conflicts, the region faces threats from jihadist organizations like the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM).

India and Canada Pause Free Trade Agreement Talks

Recently, India and Canada have temporarily halted their negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), a bilateral free trade agreement.

Key Points

  • Negotiations Paused: The pause is attributed to ongoing political developments and concerns related to "anti-India activities" in Canada.
  • Resolution Expected: A senior government official confirmed the pause, explaining that talks would resume once the political issues between the two countries are resolved.
  • The move is described as a pause rather than a complete break in negotiations.
  • Strained Relations: Bilateral relations have been strained due to the activities of pro-Khalistan groups in Canada.
  • Earlier in July, India summoned the Canadian envoy and issued a demarche after posters naming senior Indian diplomats appeared in certain areas of Canada.
  • PM Strong Message: During the G20 Summit, Indian Prime Minister met Canadian counterpart and conveyed India's concerns about "anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada."
  • India raised issues related to the promotion of secessionism, incitement of violence against Indian diplomats, damage to diplomatic premises, threats to the Indian community, and the nexus of these elements with organized crime and other unlawful activities.

India – Canada Relations

Historical Background

  • India established diplomatic relations with Canada in 1947.
  • The Prime Minister of India's visit to Canada in April 2015 elevated bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.
  • Recent years have seen efforts to enhance cooperation in various mutual interest areas.

Bilateral Trade Ties

  • In 2022, India was Canada's 10th largest trading partner, with growing exports and imports.
  • India's total exports to Canada in 2022-23 reached US$ 4.10 billion, up from US$ 3.76 billion in the previous fiscal year.
  • Imports from Canada during 2022-23 amounted to US$ 4.05 billion, compared to US$ 3.13 billion in 2021-22.
  • The current financial year (April-June) witnessed India's exports to Canada at US$ 911.10 million and imports from Canada at US$ 990.79 million.

Investment and Presence

  • Canadian Pension Funds have invested approximately US$ 55 billion in India, while cumulative FDI from Canada since 2000 stands at about US$ 4.07 billion.
  • Over 600 Canadian companies have a presence in India, and more than 1,000 firms actively pursue business in the Indian market.
  • Indian companies in Canada operate in sectors such as Information Technology, software, steel, natural resources, and banking.

Major Exports and Imports

  • Notable exports to Canada include gems, jewellery, pharmaceutical products, ready-made garments, mechanical appliances, organic chemicals, and light engineering goods.
  • India imports pulses, newsprint, wood pulp, asbestos, potash, iron scrap, copper, minerals, and industrial chemicals from Canada.

Nuclear Cooperation

  • In June 2010, a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) with Canada was signed, effective from September 2013.
  • The Appropriate Arrangement (AA) for the NCA, signed in March 2013, established a Joint Committee on Civil Nuclear Cooperation.

Commercial Relations

  • An annualized Trade Ministers dialogue reviews trade and economic relations.
  • Technical negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) were ongoing, covering goods, services, investment, and trade facilitation.

Science and Technology

  • Focus on promoting industrial R&D with IP potential.
  • Canada was a partner country for the 2017 Technology Summit.

Security and Defence

  • Collaboration in international fora like UN, Commonwealth, and G-20.
  • Expanding defence ties with mutual ship visits.
  • Robust counter-terrorism cooperation through the JWG on Counter-Terrorism.


  • Cooperation in space science, earth observation, satellite launch services, and ground support for space missions since the 1990s.
  • ISRO and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) signed MOUs in 1996 and 2003.
  • ANTRIX launched Canadian nanosatellites.
  • ISRO's 100th Satellite PSLV in 2018 carried Canada's first LEO satellite.

Agricultural Cooperation

  • Bilateral MoU on agriculture cooperation signed in 2009.
  • JWG established sub-groups on knowledge exchange, animal development, and agricultural marketing.
  • Separate Joint Working Group for Pulses.

Indian Diaspora

  • Canada hosts a significant Indian diaspora of 1.6 million (PIOs and NRIs), over 4% of its population.
  • Indian diaspora excels in various sectors, including politics, with 22 MPs of Indian origin in the House of Commons.

Cultural Exchanges

  • Canada was the Country of Focus at the 48th International Film Festival of India in 2017.
  • India – Canada Coproduction Agreement in films.

Challenges in India-Canada Ties

  • Khalistan Separatism: Resurgence of Khalistan separatism and calls for a "referendum" among the Sikh community in Canada.
  • Incidents of Vandalism: Targeting the Indian community in Canada.
  • Canadian Pronouncements: Statements on developments in India can trigger diplomatic tensions.
  • India's Structural Impediments: Complex labour laws, market protectionism, and bureaucratic regulations.
  • Inadequate Trade: Despite some progress, Canada remains an insignificant trading partner for India.
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