South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – appears to be dead
India – Pakistan issue
Cannot convene unless all leaders agree to meet
Other countries and international groups deal with countries of this region as individual nation
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka on 8 December 1985.
Decisions at all levels are to be taken on the basis of unanimity; and bilateral and contentious issues are excluded from the deliberations of the Association.
India’s problems with Pakistan on terrorism, territorial claims and on its role in blocking SAARC initiatives on connectivity and trade are well known.
It is puzzling – India attends SCO meeting where Pakistan is also present
India and China standoff: Russia-India-China trilateral, the G-20 and others
Studies have shown that South Asia’s experience of the pandemic has been unique from other regions of the world, and this needs to be studied further in a comprehensive manner.
The pandemic’s impact on South Asian economies.
Apart from the overall GDP slowdown, global job cuts which will lead to an estimated 22% fall in revenue for migrant labour and expatriates from South Asian countries, there is an expected loss of about 10.77 million jobs and US$52.32 billion in GDP in the tourism sector alone from the impact of COVID-19
Regional initiatives will become the happy medium between globalisation and hyper-nationalism.
United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA (North America)
The Southern Common Market, or MERCOSUR for its Spanish initials (South America)
The European Union (Europe)
The African Continental Free Trade Area, or AfCFTA (Africa)
The Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC (Gulf)
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP (South East Asia and Australasia including China)
A unified South Asian platform remains India’s most potent countermeasure against China
“Health Silk Road” initiative
Experts suggest that it is only a matter of time before Beijing holds a meeting of all SAARC countries (minus India and Bhutan).
While history and political grievances may be perceived differently, geography is reality.
New Delhi must find its own prism with which to view its South Asian neighbourhood as it should be: a unit that has a common future, and as a force-multiplier for India’s ambitions on the global stage.
Imposing a compromise
Supreme Court’s interim order - stays the three laws - seeks to maintain the Minimum Support Price as before - prevents possible dispossession of farmers of their land under the new laws
The order forming a four-member committee
Samyukt Kisan Morcha has refused to appear before the panel
The Court’s approach raises the question whether it should traverse beyond its adjudicative role and pass judicial orders of significant import
Court’s intervention is not in the form of adjudicating key questions such as the constitutionality of the laws, but by handing over the role of thrashing out the issues involved to a four-member panel.
How the four members on the committee were chosen?
Some of them have already voiced their support for the farm laws in question
How will the Court deal with a possible recommendation that the laws be amended?
It would be strange and even questionable if the Court directed Parliament to bring the laws in line with the committee’s views.
Tread carefully | ToI
SC’s noble intent, cannot detract from the constitutional scheme of separation of powers.
This carves out the policy and maintenance of public order spheres to the executive and vests the interpretation of laws with the judiciary.
Suspending laws passed by Parliament requires invoking legal and constitutional principles at the outset.
Powerful interest groups demanding concessions may be emboldened to adopt similar pressure tactics to bypass government and Parliament.
Proactiveness on the essentially political farm agitation is at odds with the passivity in determining constitutionality of recent anti-interfaith marriage laws, CAA, or even the archaic sedition law.
Policing a turbulent democracy
On January 6, a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump attacked the iconic Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
Congress is now determined to impeach the President for this.
How prepared were the law and order agencies for the worst-case scenario?
Did they arm themselves adequately to meet all probable contingencies?
The Washington Police and intelligence establishments face the heat squarely for their failure to protect the sanctity of the historic institution.
The Indian police would have kept the mob at a distance of at least one kilometre from the building and erected a police wall to prevent such an invasion.
Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act. Under this law, the Delhi Legislative Assembly can make laws in all subjects except in matters pertaining to public order, police and land.
This is the lacuna that permits politics to be injected into policing matters in India.
No Central government, whatever its political complexion, is a saint in the matter.
The U.S. Capitol Police is an independent police department which reports to the House Speaker and Senate President.
It can and frequently does ask other Washington D.C. law enforcement agencies for extra resources.
It can also ask the National Guard and federal law enforcement agencies for assistance.
The inexplicable fact here is that despite intelligence and warnings, the Capitol Police failed to reinforce itself ahead of the January 6 attack.
Kid-glove treatment to the rioters
In sharp contrast to the ruthlessness displayed in countering the Black Lives Matter agitators.
Even an investigator with a high reputation for objectivity and political neutrality finds it difficult in such instances to find the required evidence.
Policing a democracy is a complicated exercise.
An acceptable balance has to be struck between operational autonomy and the need for the political executive to retain control over the police so that the latter do not commit excesses or become politicised.
Such a formula is attractive on paper but rarely works in the field.
Keeping a watchful eye | Mil Post
Growing Sino-Pakistan relations
Pakistan's moves to derail Afghanistan initiatives to warm up to India
Recent busting of a robust Chinese spy syndicate in Kabul
A full-fledged Chinese intelligence ring active in Kabul was busted last month.
It was a group of 10, and most significantly, two out of these 10 were in touch with the Haqqani network which remains in contact with Pakistan's ISI and seeks guidance and all forms of assistance from this notorious Pak-intelligence outfit.
Fragile polity in Afghanistan - struggling to come to terms with some semblance of peace
Indian agencies must reinforce its counterintelligence resources
We have to combat a joint enterprise by Pakistan and China to damage Indian and Afghan geopolitical interests
After keeping the 10 Chinese spies in detention for 23 days, they were let off without any charge
These spies were wanting to set up a fake module in the name of East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
Fake module to contain the so-called menace of the Uighurs whom the Chinese describe as terrorists.
Chinese have already earned infamy for training and sheltering Indian Northeastern insurgents including ULFA cadres from Assam, PLA of Manipur and of course the Nagas (both the I/M and Khaplang factions).
ULFA head Paresh Barua is still believed to be hiding in China.
Within Pakistan, Baluchistan, in particular, has been up in arms against China for the CPEC project.
Chinese Consulate was violently attacked in Karachi and Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar came under assault.
It could be possible that Chinese intelligence is expanding its network of activities on the Afghan soil as part of its third country operations.
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