TOPIC: General Studies 2
- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
India and Pakistan- Leave back the rhetoric
- The year 2016 has witnessed constant spiked up relationship between two neighbours in South Asia- India and Pakistan.
- From Pathankot terror attack in January to Uri attacks to recent Nagrota attack, the current phase can be called as one of the darkest periods in India-Pakistan relations.
- There has been surge in criticising each other at global platforms. Also, the diplomatic ties have been tweaked by expelling diplomats on both sides, thereby reminding the Cold War era in the West.
- Given the history of troubled relations between two countries, it is necessary that two neighbours converge towards a peaceful talk process. However, it seems so that every time an attempt is made by India to reduce tensions, matters only seem worsen.
India- the initiator and giver
- In the beginning of new tenure of NDA government, PM Modi called his counterparts from neighbouring nations, including Pakistan to establish a stable relationship. However, nothing has gone right since then.
- In past too, Indian Prime Ministers had reached out to their Pakistani counterparts, in hope of finding solutions to the problems arisen post partition.
- In the hindsight, India has been over-generous with its negotiations, for example Simla Agreement in 1972, Indus Water Treaty in 1960. But, these initiatives have hardly seen any real progress.
- On the other hand, Pakistan has been more consistent, using such occasions to extract maximum benefits for itself, with little ‘give’ on their part. The failed agreements of Lahore Pact (1999), Agra Summit (2001), Simla Agreement (1972), Sharm-el-Sheikh (2009) and other recent initiatives did not deter India’s efforts for diplomatic negotiations at highest levels.
- India has continued to follow this path with Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Vajpayee being practitioners of this ‘art of possible’ and also PM Modi joining in.
- The PM energised this kind of ‘top-down’ diplomacy and himself took the lead where his example was followed at the level of the Foreign Minister, National Security Adviser and the Foreign Secretary.
- This shows that India followed a calibrated approach for many years where diplomatic moves were balanced with an occasional retaliatory step when the policy does not yield result.
Weak international support
- After the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India was under intense pressure to adopt a more robust and aggressive policy. However, India refrained from doing so.
- It believed that international support to India and statements such as ‘an action just short of war’ and identification of Pakistan as a ‘terror state’ would deter Pakistan from taking such steps and make it more responsible in handling terrorism.
- But, neither did Pakistan mend its ways, nor international forum were any more serious about the escalating tensions between neighbourhood ties due to cross border terrorism.
- It is apparent that despite all the diplomatic options that India has used to normalise relations between two nations, Pakistan has outrightly rejected all the overtures.
- Hence, this raises questions on India’s continuance of ‘more of the same’ policy.
- Though world recognises India as victim of Pakistan’s ‘state bred terrorism unleashing terrorists acts across border’, the same world, including UN refuse to formally declare Pakistan a ‘terror state’. The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is pending to be introduced since two decades in UN.
- In such circumstances, Pakistan continues to provoke India with incessant LOC infiltrations, terrorist attacks and civilian targets. More worse is that Pakistan has resorted to mutilation of the bodies of Indian soldiers killed in terror attacks. This has forced India to take retaliatory steps.
- Adding fuel to fire, some meddlesome third parties are interfering by stating that a war between the two neighbours is imminent, and that it could lead to a nuclear conflict. Such talks are unwarranted but nevertheless it is gaining some attention.
- There is rising influence of radical extremist ideas and ideologies inside Pakistan which is evident from the fact that terrorist outfits such as the Tehrik-e-Taliban, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and elements of the Islamic State have recently carried out attacks inside Pakistan.
- This is becoming the ‘new normal’ in Pakistan, further shrinking the space available for any India-Pakistan détente.
- Also, due to continuing turmoil and escalating unrest inside Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan is taking it as an opportunity to mobilise international opinion against India on the issue of violation of human rights.
- The separatist elements in J&K are also voicing their concerns on growing endangering peace and stability in the region and beyond. This has made Pakistan more bold in its approach to put India on backfoot.
- The road ahead is clearly ‘not clear’. Currently, the diplomatic options have been used and military options are being used as per requirements but the future action plan is not decided though is it agreed that there is need for change of strategy and approach.
- Hence, it should begin from somewhere and the first step should be to identify the nature and scope of conflicts with Pakistan. This will lay out the chart as to what areas to be focussed, where are the conflicts and what could be possible way out from them.
- The de-hyphenation of India and Pakistan has taken immense time and this has to be maintained. For this, a strategic strategy is required to tackle Pakistan.
- Negotiating a peace deal with Pakistan has the risk of running into unambiguous territories. At the same time, it is known that peace is not at hand and India should not have any compromises on its part. Pakistan is safely conducting its ‘state sponsored terrorist activities’ where it denies involvement and at the same time, there is evidence of terror emanating from Pakistan’s soil.
- The change in Pakistan’s military chief is not expected to bring any possible change as Pakistan’s military, identified by one and all as the most pervasive anti-India elemental force in Pakistan, remains opposed to any understanding with India.
- It is also visible that the U.S. and certain other nations have distanced themselves from Pakistan which has given Pakistan an open hand to freely terrorise India and Afghanistan.
- Also, China has befriended Pakistan as it is an important ally to achieve success for its One Belt One Road initiative. Along with it, Russia is also showing interest in increasing military relations with Pakistan.
- Thus, India’s attempt to isolate Pakistan diplomatically has not exactly materialised.
The world is increasingly witnessing terrorist activities in last few years, irrespective of which part of world it belongs. This can evoke understanding among sufferers what India is going through and what it has been trying to convey since few decades.
Today, most countries are facing problems in achieving coherence in foreign policy. For India, it has become more difficult. But, India can no more afford to be unclear in its policies or resort to knee-jerk reactions. Hence, India being a dominant power in South Asia and as one of world’s leading democracies, India has to find an answer to the existing crisis with Pakistan.
Connecting the dots:
- India and Pakistan tensions are on the rise. How can both countries deescalate these flaming period to establish an environment for conducting peaceful talks?
General Studies 3
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
- Disaster and disaster management.
General Studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Outcomes of Marrakech climate conference
The twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) on Climate Change was held in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016.
The Conference successfully demonstrated to the world that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway and the constructive spirit of multilateral cooperation on climate change continues.
The UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech was the crucial next step for governments looking to operationalize the Paris Climate Change Agreement adopted last year. While the Paris Agreement gave clear pathways and a final destination in respect to decisive action on climate change, many of the details regarding how to move forward as one global community in that common direction still needed to be resolved.
Therefore, the dialogue and decisions in Marrakech and its outcome hold immense potential to accelerate and amplify the immediate response to the challenge recognized in the Paris Agreement. This meeting was therefore incredibly important.
However, outcomes of the Marrakesh climate conference failed to make huge positive impact as there were no big friendly chats between political leaders of major powers, and no big decisions to generate global excitement.
(We had covered this section in previous article: https://iasbaba.com/2016/11/iasbabas-daily-current-affairs-24th-november-2016/)
- Marrakesh conference’s main agenda was to begin work on framing the rules and procedures that would guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
- Negotiators began work on the rulebook in Marrakesh, and gave themselves up to 2018 to finish.
- Besides the negotiations on the procedural details of the rulebook, several important partnerships were stitched up on the sidelines of the conference.
- Some of these partnerships could prove to be the gamechangers needed to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times.
International Solar Alliance
- ISA, an initiative launched by India in Paris, seeks to bring together all countries in the sun-rich tropics to boost the global demand of solar energy deployment, and ensure standardisation in the use of equipment and processes.
- It also aims to promote research and development in solar technologies, all of which are likely to bring down costs of both technology and finance, and lead to further increases in deployment.
- India went to Marrakesh with a draft Framework Agreement on International Solar Alliance, which 26 countries signed. The Agreement will take the shape of an international treaty once 15 countries that have signed up, ratify it.
- About 120 countries lie, either fully or in part, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, and are potential members of the treaty. Some 80 countries had supported the declaration of the alliance last year.
Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA)
- The entire continent contributes just about 4% to global greenhouse gases, but is likely to be one of the worst affected by climate change.
- African countries are heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture, and the cycle of droughts and floods induced by climate change could devastate economies and lead to further poverty and hunger.
- The triple-A initiative seeks to climate-proof agriculture in Africa by promoting sustainable soil management, better water management, and risk mitigation strategies. 27 African countries are already on the platform.
- International agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organisation are supporting the alliance, which will also act as a platform for seeking and channeling financial flows meant for climate change adaptation purposes.
- This too was announced in Paris, the brainchild of the US. It aims to promote research and development in clean energy technologies.
- In Marrakesh, Finland and the Netherlands formally joined the mission, taking the number of countries on the platform to 23.
- These countries together have pledged an investment of $ 30 billion over the next 5 years in clean energy research.
- There will be greater research collaborations between these countries, which together account for almost 80% of all investments into clean energy research.
- The mission has identified 7 innovation challenges, including smart grids, carbon capture and sequestration, building of storage cells for solar energy, clean energy materials and sustainable biofuels.
Climate Vulnerable Forum
- This is a group of countries that are most vulnerable to climate impacts. It has been in existence since 2009, when 11 countries voiced their common concerns. It has operated mostly on the sidelines. But in Marrakesh, the number of countries on the platform reached 48, and the group got a lot of attention.
- Member countries stressed that the target should be to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 (not 2) degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times.
- They vowed to update their climate action plans before 2020 to bring in greater ambition, and prepare a long-term low-carbon development strategy for 2050 with a 1.5-degree target in mind.
- They also said they would strive to reach 100% renewable energy production between 2030 and 2050.
2050 Pathway Platform
- This is an effort to get countries, cities and businesses to accept long-term targets for climate action. Countries have submitted 5-year or 10-year action plans as part of their commitments under the Paris deal.
- Fixing long-term targets, for say 2050, forecloses the possibility of countries doing too little in the beginning and then failing to scale up their ambition to required levels in later years.
At least 20 countries, 17 states, 15 cities and 196 businesses joined the platform in Marrakesh. Each promised to come up with climate objectives for 2050 and strive to work towards achieving those targets. The US, Germany, Canada and Mexico unveiled decarbonisation plans for 2050. The US said it would cut emissions by 80% of 2005 levels by 2050; Germany said it would reduce emissions by up to 95% on 1990 levels.
These partnerships (like the India-led International Solar Alliance) are essentially outside of the UN process under which Paris was negotiated, but represent the growing desire on the part of countries and non-government agencies such as businesses and city administrations to do their bit in the fight against climate change.
The adaptation of Marrakech Action Proclamation sends out a strong signal to the world on climate action and shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development. India has welcomed Marrakesh Action Proclamation as most of its demands including the issue of providing finance to developing nations to tackle climate change has been incorporated.
Connecting the dots:
- Discuss some of the initiatives and partnerships of recently concluded Marrakech climate conference that could prove to be the gamechangers needed to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times.
- Analyse the outcomes of recently concluded Marrakech climate conference.
- To read complete summary of Outcomes of the UN Climate Change in Marrakech, click on this link: http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/cop-22-marrakech-summary.pdf
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