Reading Time: 11 mins China’s aggressive response to numerous territorial disputes comes at a time when the world is tackling the COVID-19 crisis. Against this backdrop, Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in several locations in eastern Ladakh for the last few weeks. It is evident that the Chinese regime is making use of the crisis to prepare itself for the post-COVID-19 world in which China’s popularity has gone downhill both at the domestic and international levels because of its response to the initial outbreak of the virus. Among these efforts includes its aggressive and illegal takeover of disputed territories and integrating Hong Kong under the totalitarian regime. Efforts must be taken to ensure international cooperation for addressing common issues of concern regarding Chinese aggression.
Reading Time: 15 mins Events in the Korean Peninsula are among the most dramatic in international politics. The current escalated tensions in the region proved negotiations in recent years with high focus on nuclear disarmament as a futile attempt to address the crisis. Economic engagement and improved people-to-people ties with tangible economic returns for North Korea are some ways to improve the situation.
Reading Time: 8 mins Due to its avoidance of accountability in general, Trump Administration has long been embroiled by the worsened relationship with international organisations like the UNHRC, WHO and now with the International Criminal Court. The US government has blocked assets and imposed travel restrictions against ICC employees who are directly involved in the investigation of war crimes in Afghanistan by the US forces. Though this is not the first time the US opposed ICC’s functioning and powers, its impact is huge as comes at a time when the US is highly unpopular due to its racial tensions and ‘America First’ policy. The recent executive order by the Trump Administration essentially stalls the global fight against impunity for the most serious international crimes, giving scope for other countries to also follow suit.
Reading Time: 12 mins The US is currently having tense relations with the UN bodies; the most recent among them is the UN Human Rights Council after it passed a resolution that condemned discriminatory and violent policing and ordered a report on systemic racism against people of African descent. The Council failed to hold the US accountable for its police’s blatant violation of human rights by not calling for an investigation on Floyd’s death and other similar cases. The US has already left the Council in 2018 after accusing it of its various deficiencies. The lack of strong democratic representation has led to a better representation of authoritarian governments, which have the worst human rights records, to change the narrative of the global human rights norms. Currently, the forum is used by countries like Pakistan as a political tool with no consideration of human rights. Reforms and cooperation, rather than walking out of forums, are necessary steps to address issues like human rights.
Reading Time: 8 mins The USA-Russia relations received another blow on May 21, 2020, when US President Donald Trump announced that the US will be pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty (OST), a major arms control measure that aided transparency and confidence-building among 34 countries, especially between the US and Russia. The pulling out from OST by US was next in line after withdrawal from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) treaty last year by the US. Though it seems to be caused by increasing distrust between the two countries on the face of it, it is in line with the transactional approach of diplomacy by President Trump.
Reading Time: 9 mins Quad Plus, which includes Quad countries along with South Korea, New Zealand and Vietnam, initiated weekly video conferences since March 20 to discuss the common issues pertaining to COVID-19 pandemic. These discussions have brought Quad back into focus as one of the important groupings in the Indo-Pacific. While the expansion of the alliance to ensure international cooperation to deal with this crisis a step in the right direction, the ultimate objective of countering China’s aggression has been put on the backburner though Beijing has increased its hostility in the South China Sea and Sino-Indian borders.
Reading Time: 8 mins The COVID-19 crisis has become the centre of the USA-China tussle with each blaming the other for the global pandemic. Controversially, the virus is being claimed (by the US) to have originated from a lab in China’s Wuhan while China claims its originated in the USA- though both claims lack any evidence to support them. However, the entire issue has thrown open the question about international readiness to tackle biosecurity risks. In this light, India needs to take a look into its biosecurity preparedness and plug all the big gaps to prevent being blindsided by a dangerous biological agent- either man-made or natural- a second time.
Reading Time: 6 mins The US President Donald Trump, dubbing the current G7 setup as outdated, had recently called for the expansion of the grouping into a G10 or G11 with the inclusion of India, Australia, Russia and South Korea. Apart from the US, the UK too had advocated for the expansion by pitching for the ‘D10’, a grouping of 10 democratic countries comprising of G7 and India among others to create an alternative source for 5G technology and equipment and curb reliance on China. These proposals come at a time when the major economies are increasingly becoming less influential due to their lack of unity and protectionist ideologies.
Reading Time: 12 mins In order to prevent the repetition of the 2019 anti-government protests, Beijing has taken measures to block dissent to its full absorption of Hong Kong into China. It has tightened its grip on Hong Kong’s legislation and press and tracked down key activists who are campaigning for full democracy. The recent enactment of national anthem bill and the national security bill to further curb free speech led to uncertainty for the residents of Hong Kong. There was a huge surge in the protests after months of silence due to the COVID-19.