MEA S. Jaishankar at UNSC - greater coordination between counter terrorism agencies worldwide
20 years since the resolutions - global commitment to the war against terror after the U.S. 9/11 attacks
He highlighted the necessity to streamline the process of the UN’s top body in designating terrorists while strengthening coordination in the agencies that check their financial resources.
To raise funds terrorist orgaisations use
extortion and money laundering, drugs and wildlife trafficking
They will use loopholes in digital security and the “anonymity” provided by block chain technology to access finances.
Link actions between the UN and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
Hold countries like Pakistan accountable
FATF committee, the Asia Pacific Joint Group (APJG), is meeting this week to finalise recommendations for the FATF on whether to continue Pakistan’s ‘greylisting status’, downgrade it to a blacklist, or let it off, decisions that India is watching closely.
Finally, he pointed to countries that allow their “political and religious” affinities to decide on issues of designation of terrorists.
Pakistan’s recent actions - Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed, and the warrant for JeM chief Masood Azhar
For the moment, the Pak government is appearing to fall in line with the FATF’s 27-point action plan
Mr. Jaishankar is indicating that India is not only watching what Pakistan does but also how the international community “walks the talk” on “zero tolerance to terrorism”.
Building trust in vaccines
We know what pandemic did to us
Role of science and particularly vaccines has become critical
Recent news of promising vaccines has been greeted with hope and faith
India - distrustful narrative around the two vaccine candidates
The accelerated approval of Covaxin without Phase III trials data puts forth several critical questions.
Why are approvals shrouded in mystery?
Has the scientific process and validation been followed rigorously before approval?
Most importantly, why has there been no open discussion and comprehensive public education about the vaccines?
As experts and politicians engage in public sparring, the general public’s fear and scepticism around these vaccines is only growing.
Lack of trust in approval processes
Insufficient information combined with limited health literacy
Poor understanding of the protection vaccines provide
Simultaneously, there needs to be public education and information through large-scale State- and local-level networks where people are informed, sensitised and their feedback taken.
These efforts need to be guided by scientific experts, communication and community specialists and leaders.
Roll out conversation should be led by experts, local and community leaders, not political leaders.
Science has done its job.
Now it is time for the government’s to do what is expected in a democracy – be accountable, build trust and counter misinformation with openness and communication and not obfuscation.
Trump administration’s decision to redesignate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited Cuba’s hosting of 10 Colombian rebels, a few American fugitives and its backing for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro as evidence for its “support for acts of international terrorism”
The designation now puts the Caribbean country with Iran, North Korea and Syria, and would trigger fresh sanctions, making it more difficult for Cuba to do business.
With regard to Venezuela, Cuba is following a foreign policy which it thinks serves its best interests, dealing with the country’s government, irrespective of Washington’s opinion.
America’s acrimony towards Cuba has its roots in the Cold War period.
With the Cold War memories fading and a new generation of Americans demanding a reset in foreign policy, Mr. Obama re-established ties, opened the American embassy and travelled to Havana, marking a new beginning.
It is strange that the U.S., the world’s largest military power that had cooperated with communist China since the early 1970s, still treats this tiny communist country that lies off the Florida coast as an enemy.
Wake-up call on Tibet
America’s Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA), which became law recently, highlights Tibet’s geostrategic importance, including as the source of Asia’s great rivers.
TPSA establishes a US policy that the selection of Tibetan religious leaders, including the Dalai Lama’s successor, is a decision to be made only by Tibetans, free from Beijing’s interference.
It mandates sanctions against Chinese officials interfering in such processes.
India already received a wake-up call in April-May 2020 when China stealthily grabbed key vantage points in Ladakh and then claimed, as in the Galwan valley case, that they were historically part of Tibet.
Tibet is clearly at the centre of the China-India divide.
And TPSA holds special significance for India, which gave refuge to the Dalai Lama and his followers, helped preserve the Tibetan language and culture, and kept the spirit of Tibetan independence alive.
The Indo-Tibetan border was largely peaceful throughout history until China occupied the buffer Tibet in 1951, imposing itself as India’s neighbour and then waging war 11 years later.
China’s territorial claims in Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are based on its claim over Tibet, which India, paradoxically, has acknowledged.
2003 agreement under which India formally “recognised” the cartographically truncated Tibet that Beijing calls the Tibet Autonomous Region as “part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China.”
This recognition allowed China to advance its “salami slicing” strategy against India, including labelling Arunachal Pradesh as “South Tibet” and gradually increasing its incursions into Indian areas.
The agreement has been nullified by China’s open violation of its key provisions, including that, “Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other.” China’s use of force to unilaterally change facts on the ground contravenes the agreement’s condition to “maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas” and work towards “the clarification of the Line of Actual Control.”
China’s recently unveiled Brahmaputra mega-project is another reminder for India to add nuance – and leverage – to its Tibet stance.
No nation is more vulnerable to China’s re-engineering of transboundary flows than India because it alone receives 48.33% of the total river waters that leave Chinese controlled territory.
While the Tibetans pray for the long life of the present Dalai Lama, Xi is waiting impatiently for him to die so that he can install a puppet as his successor.
India should start referring to the Himalayan frontier by its correct historical term – the “Indo-Tibetan border”
America’s TPSA is significant because Tibet remains China’s Achilles’ heel.
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