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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

06 Mar, 2021

19 Min Read

Quad Group and India

GS-II : International Relations Indo Pacific Region

Quad Group and India

What is Quad grouping?

  • Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is the informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region, that China seeks to threaten.

  • The manner of China’s dismissal of the Arbitral Award in the dispute with the Philippines on the South China Sea, militarisation of the islands in the region and individual conflicts with Quad countries have once again brought the four countries onto the same page and given a second chance to the Quad.
  • Engaging with Quad may serve two geostrategic goals of India viz. countering China’s aggression on the border with India’s assertive in the maritime domain and emerging as a net security provider in the region.

Background of Quad

  • China’s unilateral claim on the Nine-Dash Line in the South China Sea; rapid warship building of its first overseas base in Djibouti; and its surface and subsurface activities in the Indian Ocean beyond the Malacca Straits have alarmed regional countries like India and Japan about increasing Chinese ambition.
  • In this context, the idea of Quad was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007.
  • However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.
  • In December 2012, Shinzo Abe again floated the concept of Asia’s “Democratic Security Diamond” involving Australia, India, Japan and the US to safeguard the maritime commons from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.
  • In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending "Quad" Coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (especially China).
  • Quad is criticised by China as Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

What is the opportunity for India under the Quad grouping?

  1. India can use the Quad group as a counter to China and OBOR. The maritime space is a lot more important to China than engaging in opportunistic land grab attempts in the Himalayas.
  2. India can provide Maritime security to the Indo-Pacific region: There is a growing great power interest in the maritime sphere, especially with the arrival of the concept of ‘Indo-Pacific’. For instance, many European countries have recently released their Indo-Pacific strategies.
  3. Further, India with Quad countries can check the imperialist policies of China in the Indian Ocean region and ensure Security and growth for all in the region.

Issues Related to Quad

  • Undefined Vision: Despite the potential for cooperation, the Quad remains a mechanism without a defined strategic mission.
  • Maritime Dominated: The entire focus on the Indo-Pacific makes the Quad a maritime, rather than a land-based grouping, raising questions about whether the cooperation extends to the Asia-Pacific and Eurasian regions.
  • India’s Aversion of Alliance System: The fact that India is the only member that is averse to a treaty alliance system, has slowed down the progress of building a stronger Quadrilateral engagement.

Way Forward

  • Need For Clear Vision: The Quad nations need to better explain the Indo-Pacific Vision in an overarching framework with the objective of advancing everyone’s economic and security interests.
  • This will reassure the littoral States that the Quad will be a factor for regional benefit, and a far cry from Chinese allegations that it is some sort of a military alliance.
  • Expanding Quad: India has many other partners in the Indo-Pacific, therefore India should pitch for countries like Indonesia, and Singapore to be invited to join in the future.
  • Need for a Maritime Doctrine: India should develop a comprehensive vision of the Indo-Pacific which would ideate on the current and future maritime challenges, consolidate its military and non-military tools, and engage its strategic partners.

Conclusion

In order to secure national and regional interests, India should now focus on the maritime sphere also. In this context establishing a new division under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to deal with the Indo-Pacific is a step in the right direction.

Source: TH

International North-South Transport Corridor

GS-II : International Relations India and Iran

International North-South Transport Corridor

Context

  • India’s Foreign Minister addresses the Chabahar Day event organized at the Maritime India Summit.
  • During the address, the minister put forward the proposal with respect to INSTC (International North-South Transport Corridor):
    • Inclusion of Chabahar Port in the International North-South Transport Corridor(INSTC).
    • Expansion of the INSTC membership by including Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

About the International North-South Transport Corridor(INSTC):

  • INSTC was first proposed in 2000 to improve connectivity between Russia, Central Asian states, and India.
  • Route: It is a 7,200-km-long multi-modal connectivity project to establish transport networks (ship, rail, and road route).
  • It will be used for moving freight between India, Russia, Iran, Europe, and Central Asia.
  • Members: It includes 13 countries namely India, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Oman, Syria, and Ukraine.
  • Dry runs of two routes were conducted to address key bottlenecks. The two routes were:
    • The first was Mumbai to Baku via Bandar Abbas and
    • The second was Mumbai to Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas, Tehran, and Bandar Anzali.

Ashgabat Agreement:

  • Ashgabat agreement is a multimodal transport agreement between the governments of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Oman.
  • Aim: It aims to create an international transport and transit corridor facilitating the transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

Source: TH

ISRO & Related Space Agencies- Antrix, New Space India Limited & IN-SPACe

GS-III : S&T Indigenization of Technology

ISRO & Related Space Agencies- Antrix, New Space India Limited & IN-SPACe

NSIL and ANTRIX

  • NSIL’s main purpose is to market the technologies developed by ISRO and bring it more clients that need space-based services.
  • That role, incidentally, was already being performed by Antrix Corporation, another PSU working under the Department of Space, and which still exists.
  • The government has clarified the role of NSIL that it would have a demand-driven approach rather than the current supply-driven strategy.
  • Essentially, what that means is that instead of just marketing what ISRO has to offer, NSIL would listen to the needs of the clients and ask ISRO to fulfil those.

New Space India Limited

  • NSIL is a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the administrative control of the Department of Space.
  • Headquarter: Bengaluru
  • NSIL is the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the primary responsibility of enabling Indian industries to take up high technology space related activities and is also responsible for promotion and commercial exploitation of the products and services emanating from the space industry.

What is IN-SPACe?

  • IN-SPACe is supposed to be a facilitator, and also a regulator.
  • It will act as an interface between ISRO and private parties and assess how best to utilise India’s space resources and increase space-based activities.
  • IN-SPACe is the second space organisation created by the government in the last two years.
  • In the 2019 Budget, the government had announced the setting up of a New Space India Limited (NSIL), a public sector company that would serve as a marketing arm of ISRO.

Why was IN-SPACe needed?

  • IN-SPACe will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure.
  • These reforms will allow ISRO to focus more on new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme.
  • Allowing industries and others like students, researchers or academic bodies greater access to space assets would lead to a much better utilisation of India space resources.
  • Global Technology Powerhouse: It will enable Indian Industry to be an important player in the global space economy.
  • With this, there is an opportunity for large-scale employment in the technology sector and India becoming a Global technology powerhouse.

Source: TH

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