Open Skies Treaty: History, significance, Implications

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.

Biosecurity in India – Need, Challenges, Solutions

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.

Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill 2019 – Need, Features, Criticism

Reading Time: 6 mins External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar, on December 9, 2019, introduced Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha. The introduction of the Bill comes days after 18 Indians aboard a crude oil carrier were kidnapped off the coast of Nigeria. This Bill provides for stringent punishment, including the death penalty to those who are involved in acts of maritime piracy. It was criticised by the opposition for the inclusion of the death penalty. It was referred to the parliamentary standing committee on external affairs chaired by former Union Minister P.P.Choudhary.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan & Terror Financing – All You Need to Know

Reading Time: 4 mins

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog that combats money laundering and terrorist financing, had grey listed Pakistan in June 2018 for not cutting down the finances of terrorist groups within its soil. Greylisting puts Pakistan under international scrutiny to prove its compliance with FATF norms. Notably, the greylisting move was initiated by the US.

Even with greylisting measures, Pulwama terror attack happened in February 2019 = FATF (with India’s lobbying) threatens Pakistan that it will be moved to the blacklist due to its failure to comply with the action plan which was due May 2019. Blacklisting could virtually cut all financial flows to Pakistan.

This big-picture article explains the following in an analytical manner with a mindmap for quick revision.

  1. What is the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)?
  2. How FATF works?
  3. What is the grey list and blacklist?
  4. What is the issue with Pakistan?
  5. Why the US initiated the move?
  6. What are the implications of placing Pakistan on FATF watchlist?
  7. Has Pakistan changed with external Pressures?
  8. Why has Pakistan failed to comply with or curtail terror funding?
  9. What is the way forward?