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Arab Spring

Syllabus subtopic: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the Arab Spring and its features   News: Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian leader who for nearly 30 years was the resolute face of stability in the Middle East, died on 25th February, ending his days after a swift and ignominious tumble from power in the Arab world’s pro-democracy upheaval. Though Tunis

India-Iran relations

Syllabus subtopic: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the issue; about India-Iran relations   News: India summoned Iranian ambassador to the foreign office to protest remarks made by Iran’s foreign minister on the recent riots in the national capital.   Background In a rare rebuke to India, Iran’s foreign minister slammed the governmen

Vande Bharat Mission one of the largest evacuation mission

Vande Bharat Mission one of the largest evacuation mission In one of the largest evacuation exercises named Vande Bharat Mission, the government will operate 64 flights between 7th and 13th of May to bring home nearly 14,800 Indian nationals stranded abroad due to the Corona virus lockdown. Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said that preparations for the operation has commenced and also urged the stranded individuals to stay in touch with the Indian embassies in their countries. T

In Persian Gulf littoral, cooperative security is key

In Persian Gulf littoral, cooperative security is key Hamid Ansari is the former Vice-President of India, 2007-2017 GS- Paper-II West Asia India’s interests would be best served if stability in the region is ensured this way The United Nations defines this body of water as the Persian Gulf. The lands around it are shared by eight countries (Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates)(PT SHOT), all members of the UN. There is a commo

In pandemic crisis, bridging the gulf with West Asia

In pandemic crisis, bridging the gulf with West Asia By, Navdeep Suri is Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Centre for New Economic Diplomacy, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and former Indian Ambassador to the UAE and Egypt and High Commissioner to Australia. Kabir Taneja is Fellow, Strategic Studies Programme, ORF Context # As the world continues to collaborate in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic , the post-pandemic architecture may look drastically different from what we h

Should Kuwait’s draft expat bill worry India?

Should Kuwait’s draft expat bill worry India? Context * The Kuwait National Assembly (NA) is discussing several proposals to reduce the share of foreigners in the country’s population, which is now pegged at 70%. * There are many proposals under consideration, and one is to put caps on the number of emigrants in the country. In this, the plan is that Indians should not exceed 15% of Kuwaiti citizens, while Egyptians, Bangladeshis and Filipinos among others must not each exc

Iran drops India from Chabahar rail project

Iran drops India from Chabahar rail project, cites funding delay Four years after India and Iran signed an agreement to construct a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan, the Iranian government has decided to proceed with the construction on its own, citing delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project. Last week, Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami inaugurated the track-laying process for the 628 km Chab

Lost opportunity: On India losing Chabahar project

  Lost opportunity: On India losing Chabahar project Importance of Chabahar - Right from the beginning of its tenure, the government has underlined the geostrategic importance it attaches to the Chabahar port project. - The project, signed in 2003, has been a symbol of traditionally important India-Iran ties. - Connected by sea lanes to ports on India’s west coast, Chabahar would form the fulcrum of India’s outreach to Russia and Central Asia, enhancing connecti

Iran ties need quiet diplomacy

Iran ties need quiet diplomacy By, Rakesh Sood is a former diplomat and currently Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation Context - Recent reports that Iran’s Transport and Urban Development Minister had launched the track laying programme for the 628 km long rail link between Chabahar and Zahidan last week sparked concerns that India was being excluded from the project. - Iran has since clarified that it is not the case and India could join the project at a la

Why is India out of the Chabahar rail project?

Why is India out of the Chabahar rail project? -   The inauguration of a track-laying project from Iran’s Chabahar port to Zahedan on the border with Afghanistan on July 7, has ensured that Chabahar is once again in the middle of a storm over the fate of India’s investment there. -   The port project along Iran’s southern coast in the Sistan-Baluchistan province has been a part of discussions between New Delhi and Tehran since their first agreement to

Kafala system

Kafala system The kafala system is an exploitative system used to monitor migrant laborers, working primarily in the construction and domestic sectors in Gulf Cooperation Council member states and a few neighbouring countries. The system requires all unskilled laborers to have an in-country sponsor, usually their employer, who is responsible for their visa and legal status. This practice has been criticised by human rights organizations for creating easy opportunities for the exploita

The South Asian-Gulf migrant crisis

The South Asian-Gulf migrant crisis By, S.Irudaya Rajan is Professor at the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, and Ginu Zacharia Oommen is a Member of the Kerala Public Service Commission Context In early July, the Kerala High Court issued notice to the Central and State governments on a petition seeking to set up a mechanism to assist NRIs who had lost their jobs abroad and had returned to India, to seek due compensation. The petition was initiated by Lawyers Bey

Beirut battered: On Lebanon blast

Beirut battered: On Lebanon blast Context The devastating blast in central Beirut on Tuesday that killed 135 people and wounded 4,000 has once again turned the spotlight on a city that had in the past survived civil wars, sectarian violence, foreign interventions and terrorist attacks. Reason for the blast While there is no dearth of conspiracy theories, the initial assessment of the government is that the blast was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tonnes of ammon

Abraham Accord

UAE, Israel reach agreement to establish diplomatic ties Context: The United Arab Emirates has become the first Gulf Arab country to reach a deal on normalising relations with Israel The United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state. The development caps years of discreet contacts between the two countries in commerce and technology. The so-ca

Why has the Israel-UAE pact unsettled Palestine and Iran?

Why has the Israel-UAE pact unsettled Palestine and Iran? Context On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had reached a peace agreement. Many countries, including the European powers and India, have welcomed it, while the Palestinian leadership as well as Turkey and Iran have lashed out at the UAE. Abraham Accord: According to the joint statement, the UAE and Israel would establish formal diplomatic relations and in

Troubled waters: on EU-Turkey relations

Troubled waters: on EU-Turkey relations Context Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean soared last week, with Turkey sending an exploration vessel, accompanied by a Navy fleet, to the disputed waters and France despatching warships to assist Greece. The trigger The trigger for the recent hostility between Turkey and Greece, which have historically shared troublesome relations, has been the discovery of gas in the Mediterranean waters. The EU’s plans to transport the

Chora Museum 

Chora Museum  Context Recently, the Turkish President reconverted the Chora museum into a mosque. This is the second museum after Hagia Sophia to be converted into a mosque. Turkey has also found a new gas field in Black Sea. Chora Museum: It was built initially as a church in 534 AD, during the early Byzantine period. In the 11th century, its internal walls, pillars and domes were covered with mosaics and frescoes showing scenes from biblical stories. After the c

Crisis in Caucasus

Crisis in Caucasus: On Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh Context The ongoing fighting between Armenian rebels and the Azerbaijani Army in Nagorno-Karabakh, a self-declared republic within Azerbaijan, risks becoming a wider regional conflict. Ceasefire truce Though Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a Russia-mediated ceasefire last week after days of fighting, the truce crumbled immediately amid a blame game. Whatever the truth is, an emboldened Azerbaijan, backed by

Ending conflict in the Caucasus

Ending conflict in the Caucasus Context: The military confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. News: Given that the military confrontation has been raging on between Armenia and Azerbaijan there have been calls for a ceasefire. The Madrid Principles could be the starting point for ending the hostility between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) consisting of Russia, France and the U.S. had put for

India and the Abraham Accords

India and the Abraham Accords Abraham Accords: It is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state. The so-called “Abraham Accords”, announced by United States President Donald Trump, secures an Israeli commitment to halt further annexation of Palestinian lands in the oc

Targeting Hezbollah: On Israeli attacks in Lebanon

Targeting Hezbollah: On Israeli attacks in Lebanon Introduction The Israeli attacks on Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon following what it called “cross border fires” mark a significant escalation in the crisis that has been building up along the border in recent years. Historical background: Hezbollah, a Shia militia-cum-political party in Lebanon, and Israel, which have fought two wars before, have been observing a tenuous ceasefire for 14 years. It is con

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Gulf leaders signed a “solidarity and stability” deal after leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar publicly embraced, bringing Doha back into the regional fold after a three-year-long rift. Saudi Arabia had led a coalition of countries in the Gulf and beyond to cut ties and transport links with Qatar in June 2017, charging that it was too close to Iran and backed radical Islamist groups — allegations that Doha denied. Those countries, along

Analysis of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Analysis of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) On January 5, the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) met at the ancient town of Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia to end the bitter discord that three of its members — Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, along with Egypt — have had with their partner, Qatar. On June 5, 2017, the Arab Quartet, as they styled themselves, subjected Qatar to an onerous diplomatic boycott and a total land, sea and air embargo. They accused Qatar of destabi

Analysis of Qatar and GCC

Analysis of Qatar and GCC The Gulf reconciliation summit, in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, where the kingdom and its allies decided to end their blockade of Qatar, has brought to an end, for now, their long feud. In 2017, Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed the blockade and severed diplomatic ties, accusing the tiny Gulf country of supporting terrorism. They also issued 13 demands for it to be lifted, which include

Endless war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Endless war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen Introduction The Biden administration’s decision to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s Yemen war is a signal to Riyadh that the Trump-era open support it had enjoyed is a matter of the past. Background The U.S. offered support to Saudi Arabia’s campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen when Barack Obama was the President. Donald Trump continued that policy, overlooking the disastrous effects of the war that h

US-Saudi Relations- CIA report on murder of Khashoggi

US-Saudi Relations- CIA report on murder of Khashoggi Details of CIA report The declassified version of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report on journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder states “that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved [the] operation…to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” It bases this conclusion on the evidence that the persons responsible for the crime were members of the security detail of the Cro

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action- Iran nuclear deal

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action- Iran nuclear deal Introduction US President Mr. Biden has consistently advocated a return to the JCPOA provided Iran returns to full compliance; Iran has always reiterated its commitment to the JCPOA maintaining that the steps it took are reversible as long as the United States lifts the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration since 2018. Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action The JCPOA was the result of prolonged negotiat

West Asia and Asian ties

West Asia and Asian ties Desert Flag exercise Other than India and the UAE, Bahrain, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United States are have participated in the Desert Flag exercise (6th edition). Prevailing situation in West Asia The sixth edition of Desert Flag this year takes place as tensions between Iran and the U.S. peak. Also added into the mix is the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020 between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, a more cordial and j

USA and the West Asian policy

USA and the West Asian policy Recent issues between U.S and West Asia On February 25, the U.S. bombed facilities used by Iran-backed militias in Syria, in retaliation for a rocket attack at an American base in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan, earlier in the month, allegedly by pro-Iran Shia militants in Iraq. The next day, the administration released an intelligence report on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate on October

Turkey Withdraws from Istanbul Convention

Turkey withdraws from the Istanbul Convention - to combat violence against women. About Istanbul Convention: Istanbul Convention is also called the Council of Europe Convention. It aims towards preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The convention was adopted in 2011. It came into force in 2014. Once ratified the Convention is legally binding on the country. It is the first legally-binding instrument that creates a comprehensive legal framework a

West Asia-Labour reforms

West Asia-Labour reforms Introduction Not one of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states can cater to their labour market needs domestically. Their dependence on migration is only set to increase with fertility rates falling. Despite there being unemployment, the citizens of these countries are unlikely to step in and do the supposedly low-skilled, and definitely low-paid, jobs of the millions of migrants who work there. The reality in Qatar Qatar, the richest of

Yemen Crisis: Saudi presented a peace initiative

Yemen Crisis: Saudi presented a peace initiative In the aftermath of Yemen crisis, now Saudi Arabia presented a new peace initiative to end the war in Yemen, which would include a nationwide ceasefire under UN supervision and the reopening of air and sea links, the kingdom’s Foreign Minister said. The initiative includes the reopening of Sana'a airport, and would allow fuel and food imports through Hodeidah port, both of which are controlled by Riyadh’s enemies, the Iran-

Suez Canal crisis- Past to Present

Suez Canal crisis- Past to Present Background 1967 closure: The last time the Suez Canal was closed for navigation was in 1967, after the Six-Day War between Israel and Arab nations broke out. 1956 war: Prior to that, the channel had been shut for less than a year during the Suez War of 1956 when Israel, France and Britain invaded Egypt. 2021 closure: What wars did in the past was done by a container ship now. M.V. Ever Given (Taiwanese merchant vessel) got stuck in a dust storm a

Vienna talks- USA and Iran

Vienna talks- USA and Iran Introduction U.S. and Iran should rebuild the lost trust and resolve the nuclear crisis before time runs out Vienna talks The Vienna talks between the remaining members of the Iran nuclear deal — China, Russia, the U.K., France, Germany and Iran — have raised hopes for the revival of the agreement from which then President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. in May 2018. After the initial round of talks, European and Iranian d

What Israel wants in Syria?

What Israel wants in Syria? Introduction Ten years since the outbreak of the crisis in Syria in 2011, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad seems to have won the civil war. Background of Assad’s victory over the civil war If in 2015, before the Russian intervention, Mr. Assad’s area of influence had shrunken to the largely Alawite-populated region stretching from Damascus to the Mediterranean coast, his troops now control most of Syria — except Idlib and

Israel-Palestine war, 2021 (Gist)

Israel-Palestine war, 2021 (Gist) Introduction The ongoing violence in Jerusalem is a culmination of the tensions building up since the start of Ramzan in mid-April. Reason for the incitement When Israeli police set up barricades at the Damascus Gate, a main entrance to the occupied Old City, preventing Palestinians from gathering there, it led to clashes. Eviction of Palestinian families in an Arab neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Israeli police entered the Haram al-Sharif

India’s stand over palestine

India’s stand over palestine India’s stand at UN At UN, India backed Palestine but without any reference to Jerusalem, borders At the United Nations Security Council on Sunday, India, a non-permanent member, reaffirmed its support for Palestine, but stopped short of making any direct reference to the status of Jerusalem or the future Israel-Palestine borders. T.S. Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said: “In conclusion, India reiterates i

Jordan's 100th Anniversary as a Kingdom

100th anniversary of the Kingdom of Jordan PM recently congratulated King Abdullah II on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Kingdom of Jordan. He emphasized importance of region and applauded Jordan as a powerful voice and a global symbol of moderation and inclusivity. He appreciated Aqaba Process has contributed to promoting coordination on regional peace and security. The Aqaba Process is an initiative by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan to enhance global coordin

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