Chemical Weapons attack, India-Bangladesh ties: Time for golden period, Current Affairs – 6th April 2017

Chemical Weapons attack, India-Bangladesh ties: Time for golden period, Current Affairs – 6th April 2017

Chemical Weapons attack

Introduction

Syrian Crisis has been long drawn and has seen humanitarian crisis of large scale. The recent chemical attacks add to the wounds and fears of people of the region. Syria has been a playground for global geo-politics with regime and rebels supported by opposing global powers.

Issue:

Syria’s civil war has taken uglier turn of events with use of chemical agents once again. This time the region under attack has been Idlib province which has killed as many as 72 people.

  • In Syria there have been multiple chemical attacks for which both the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the jihadists are to blame.
    • More than 400,000 people are believed to have been killed and millions displaced since the crisis broke out.
    • With violence continuing unabated and the Assad regime not showing any real interest in settling the crisis, even hopes for peace and normal life look very wanting.
  • The suspicion for the present Idlib attack is more towards the regime.
    • Idlib is a rebel-held province where the regime is currently carrying out air strikes. Activists in the province and Western governments have claimed the regime used chemical agents in Khan Sheikhoun.
  • If the attack is justified, Damascus has not only committed a war crime but also violated a major international agreement.

Previous use and the action:

In the 2013 Sarin attack in Ghouta in a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds was also blamed on the regime

  • The U.S. and Russia had agreed to remove Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.
  • As part of the deal, 1,300 tonnes of chemical agents were shipped out of Syria and destroyed.
  • It was OPCW (Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) that carried out a thorough clean up of the chemical weapons under UN mandate.

Concern:

  • The concern is, where did the latest chemical weapons come from?
    • Syria had either hidden some of the stockpiles or clandestinely developed such weapons after the deal was reached — both serious violations.
  • The regime has been justifying acts as fighting terror. But this will not hold ground as it is serious human right violations the regime is up to.
  • The real crisis of Syria is that its regime is acting with a sense of impunity, given the support Russia and China have repeatedly shown to the regime.
  • The international community could not hold Mr. Assad to account for his actions at any point of the Syrian war, which worsened with the involvement of other regional powers.

Conclusion:

Syria has to be treated as an immediate priority. The narrow geopolitical interests of regional and global powers have to make way for lasting peace in a troubled land. There must be a coordinated effort to bring the war to an end, and to hold the perpetrators of war crimes accountable for their barbarism.

Connecting the dots:

  • Critically analyse the UN mandate and the actions that can be initiated w.r.t. UNSC R2P for any war crimes or crimes against humanity.

 

India-Bangladesh ties: Time for golden period

In news: Bangladesh PM’s upcoming visit to India is looked forward as a possible positive engagement between two countries. For past three years, India and Bangladesh have taken up the relations in a forward looking manner while discussing freely on critical issues.

Important threads of relations

Counter-terrorism

  • Both India and Bangladesh have adopted a common stance on tackling terrorism
  • Aim is to not only crack down on purveyors of terrorism but also condemning and keeping at arm’s length the nations regarded as sponsors of terrorism in the region.

Energy

  • In recent times, Bangladesh’s measures toward setting up a power plant in the Sundarbans has seen growth.

Economy and trade

  • There is impressive degree of Indian investment in other areas where its economic development is concerned in Bangladesh.

Diplomacy

  • In South Asian region, both countries have had identical views on how organisations such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) should be going forward in promoting cooperation among its member nations.
  • India pulled out of SAARC after Uri attacks whereas Bangladesh also pulled out of it due to its complaint of ‘growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by one country’.

Teesta

  • It has been the focus of discussion since the possibility of a deal was scuttled in 2011.
  • Currently, West Bengal CM is not ready to share the water as demanded by Bangladesh as the river provides water to many villages in north Bengal.
  • However, the possibility of dialogue between the two countries on its sharing is expected to make some in-roads in it.

Increased areas of cooperation

  • The cabinet has currently approved MoUs between water transport development, judicial sector, passenger cruise and mass media.

The neighbour triangle

  • A critical aspect of the trip will be a defence deal that will likely be initialled by the two Prime Ministers.
  • Previously, a 25-year treaty of friendship and cooperation reached by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1972, within months of Bangladesh’s emergence as an independent state, continued to be the subject of criticism in anti-Awami League supporters till the deal reached its natural end.
  • Thus, the questions are already in the foray about need of such defence deal for Bangladesh.
  • India is keen to have such defence deal with Bangladesh due to increasing levels of cooperation between Bangladesh and China, particularly in the spheres of the economy and defence.
  • However, now Bangladesh has to convince India that links with China are not intended to do away with India. It is aimed to have a balanced and cooperative relations with the major players in the region.

Three challenges that need to be overcome

  1. Political reframe of relation
    • India should consider strategic appreciation of the importance of Bangladesh which has been insufficient till now. It should acknowledge and address the opportunities in Bangladesh in a more sustained and purposeful manner.
    • Whereas Bangladesh has to rise and live up to its tag of ‘miracle in the east’ as it is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Bangladesh must demonstrate greater self-assurance in engaging India for enlightened self-interest.
  2. Border dispute- India shares longest boundary with Bangladesh
    • There is no doubt that China has become a major partner for Bangladesh. It is possible as it is emerging as the world’s second largest economy.
    • But India also shares the blame for neglecting its neighbours for long post independence.
    • The partition led to inward economic orientation of both countries. This affected the amiable sharing of river water, having tranquil boundaries and restore the lost trans-frontier economic connectivities.
    • Thus, the border disputes need to be solved in forefront manner.
  3. Bangladesh’s leadership role in region
    • Bangladesh has to take lead in promoting South Asian regionalism.
    • It has to play a central role in shaping the future of sub-regional cooperation with Bhutan, Burma, India and Nepal.
    • The significance lies in the fact that it is also the land bridge to East Asia and the fulcrum of a future Bay of Bengal community.

Conclusion

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