- In Persian Gulf littoral, cooperative security is key
- Oceans are central to the future
- Build Consensus on Farm Reforms
Focus: GS-II International Relations
- The Persian Gulf is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia and is surrounded by eight countries – Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
- What is common to these 8 countries is that they are major producers of crude oil and natural gas, and thereby contributing critically to the global economy.
- For eight decades prior to 1970, this body of water was a closely guarded British lake, administered in good measure by imperial civil servants from India. When that era ended, regional players sought to assert themselves. Imperatives of rivalry and cooperation became evident.
- The Iraq-Iran War enhanced U.S. interests and role and after struggles it was left to the Security Council to explore ‘measures to enhance the security and stability in the region’.
The GCC and the U.S. link
- The war in Iraq by the U.S. in its effort to ‘contain’ the Iranian revolutionary forces met with success in some functional fields, was supplemented by the effort of the Arab states of the littoral (except Iraq) through the instrumentality of the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC (May 1981).
- The multilateral agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme agreed to by western powers, being disowned unilaterally by the U.S. under Trump’s Presidency, along with other decisions, has taken the region to the brink of an armed conflict.
- Perceptions of declining U.S. commitment to sub-regional security have been articulated in recent months amid hints of changing priorities.
An evolving transformation
- The divisions within the GCC are aggravated by the global economic crisis, the immediate and long-term impact of COVID-19 on regional economies, the problems in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the decline in oil prices.
- OPEC is also becoming irrelevant as oil policy moves to a tripartite global condominium.
- The bilateral relationship, economic and political, between India and the GCC has blossomed in recent years.
- This is well reflected in the bilateral trade of around $120 billion and remittances of almost $50 billion from a workforce of over nine million.
- GCC suppliers account for almost 35% of our crude imports.
- In addition, Saudi Aramco is reported to take a 20% stake in Reliance oil-to-chemicals business.
- The relationship with Iran, complex at all times and more so recently on account of overt American pressure, has economic potential and geopolitical relevance on account of its actual or alleged role in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
-Source: The Hindu
Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, International Relations
- Almost half of the world’s inhabitants depend on the oceans for food and employment.
- Oceans are already under tremendous pressure and there is an urgent need for concerted action to ensure a more sustainable and integrated approach in years to come.
India – Norway and Ocean Industries
- The ocean industries — offshore energy, maritime transportation, seafood and newer industries — constitute the backbone of the Norwegian economy.
- Norwegian businesses recognise the vast potential of the Indian blue economy industries, and can offer important competence.
- India has launched an ambitious Deep Ocean Mission in 2019 which over a five-year span will explore the deepest recesses of the Central Indian Ocean Basin, look at harnessing tidal energy and study the oceans’ biodiversity, metals and minerals.
- A recent “blue paper” commissioned by the high-level panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy makes the case for integrated ocean management for achieving a sustainable ocean economy.
- The longstanding scientific partnership between India and Norway regarding ocean research has been strengthened with the launch of a Joint Initiative on Integrated Ocean Management between our two countries.
Addressing Marine Litter
- Marine litter is an environmental issue that represents a significant risk for the blue economy as well as for marine life itself.
- India has ambitions to phase out single-use plastic by 2022.
- India and Norway established a Joint Marine Pollution Initiative, which is taking advantage of our respective strengths in waste management, marine research, business and technology in order to learn from one another and implement best practices.
- India and Norway are both strongly committed to achieving ambitions set in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
World Oceans Day
- World Oceans Day is an international day that takes place annually on the 8th of June.
- The International day supports the implementation of worldwide Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and fosters public interest in the management of the ocean and its resources.
- The theme of UN World Oceans Day 2020 is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.”
-Source: Hindustan Times
Focus: GS-II Governance
Why in news?
The central government seeks to bring about reforms in India’s farm sector via the three Ordinances.
Click Here to read more about the three ordinances (1st Article)
Criticisms of the Three Ordinances
I- Amendment to ECA
- While the amendment to the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), removing cereals, pulses, onions, potatoes, oil and oilseeds from its ambit, is welcome, the Centre’s decision to retain the power to reintroduce these items under the Act if prices go up unreasonably would make it difficult for commodity futures to work efficiently.
II- Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020
- The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 seeks to free up farm trade across states and within states is very useful as farmers lack marketing freedom because the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Acts of most states compel them to sell to a specified set of traders.
- However, while inter-state commerce is a subject in the Union list, intra-state trade lies within the ambit of the state government.
- Since the states stand to lose considerable sums of mandi tax derived from the APMC system, their concerns would have to be addressed.
III- Legal Framework for contract farming
- Instituting a legal framework for contract farming, via the third Ordinance, is a good idea.
- However, these contracts are one-sided, with no real recourse for the buyer.
- Different states call for different kinds of additional inputs, marketing freedom being only a hygiene factor. Supplying these should be a priority, too.
-Source: Economic Times