30. Current Affairs for 2012 Exam Third week November Unit 3

This issue deals in particular with the ASEAN, the Syrian crisis, looming conflict between India and China in the waters of the south China Sea. It is necessary for you to study Regional organizations  and potential zones of conflict.

31 thoughts on “30. Current Affairs for 2012 Exam Third week November Unit 3

  1. ASEAN or The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
    Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.
    Its aims include the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members, the protection of regional peace and stability, and to provide opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully

  2. ASEAN covers a land area of 4.46 million km², 3% of the total land area of Earth, with a population of approximately 600 million people, 8.8% of the world population. The sea area of ASEAN is about three times larger than its land counterpart. In 2010, its combined nominal GDP had grown to US$1.8 trillion.[10] If ASEAN were a single entity, it would rank as the ninth largest economy in the world
    ASEAN Plus Three countries are China, Japan, and South Korea.
    ASEAN functions under what is called the ASEAN way.

  3. The ASEAN way can be traced back to the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. “Fundamental principles adopted from this included:
    • mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations;
    • the right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;
    • non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
    • settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
    • renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
    • effective cooperation among themselves”

  4. On the surface, the process of consultations and consensus is supposed to be a democratic approach to decision making, but the ASEAN process has been managed through close interpersonal contacts among the top leaders only, who often share a reluctance to institutionalise and legalise co-operation which can undermine their regime’s control over the conduct of regional co-operation. Thus, the organisation is chaired by the secretariat

  5. India & ASEAN
    Last Updated: June 2010
    Since its start about a decade ago, the partnership between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam has been developing at quite a fast pace.
    India became a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992. Mutual interest led ASEAN to invite India to become its full dialogue partner during the fifth ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in 1995. India also became a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1996. India and ASEAN have been holding summit-level meetings on an annual basis since 2002.

  6. In August 2009, India signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the ASEAN members in Thailand. Under the ASEAN-India FTA, ASEAN member countries and India will lift import tariffs on more than 80 per cent of traded products between 2013 and 2016, according to a release by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    In January 2010, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand accepted the FTA on goods. The other seven ASEAN countries are expected to operationalise the FTA by August 2010.

  7. India and ASEAN are currently negotiating agreements on trade in services and investment. The services negotiations are taking place on a request-offer basis, wherein both sides make requests for the openings they seek and offers are made by the receiving country based on the requests.
    India has made requests in a number of areas including teaching, nursing, architecture, chartered accountancy and medicine as it has a large number of English speaking professionals in these areas who can gain from job opportunities in the ASEAN region. India is also keen on expanding its telecom, IT, tourism and banking network in ASEAN countries.

  8. Trade
    The deepening of ties between India and ASEAN is reflected in the continued buoyancy in trade figures.
    India’s trade with ASEAN countries has increased from US$ 30.7 billion in 2006-07 to US$ 39.08 billion in 2007-08 and to US$ 45.34 billion in 2008-09. During April – September 2009-10, India’s trade with ASEAN was US$ 20.19 billion, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    In 2008-09, India’s exports to ASEAN totalled US$ 19.14 billion. During April-December 2009-10, India exported goods worth US$ 12.8 billion to ASEAN, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

  9. India imported goods worth US$ 26.3 billion in 2008-09 from ASEAN. During the period April-December 2009-10, India’s imports from ASEAN totalled US$ 18.09 billion, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

  10. Singapore
    The growing bilateral economic relationship is reflected in the rapidly rising bilateral trade between Singapore and India. Singapore continues to be the single largest investor in India amongst the ASEAN countries and the second largest amongst all countries with foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India, totalling US$ 2.4 billion in 2009-10. The cumulative FDI inflows from Singapore during April 2000 and March 2010 were US$ 10.2 billion, according to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

  11. The total bilateral trade during 2008-09 was US$ 16.1 billion, an increase of 3.86 per cent over US$ 15.5 billion in 2007-08, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    During 2008-09, India exported goods worth US$ 8.45 billion to Singapore. During April-December 2009-10, Indian merchandise exports to Singapore totalled US$ 5.12 billion, comprising mainly of mineral fuels and oils, ships, boats and floating structures and natural pearls, gems and jewellery, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce

  12. Syria
    UN Members Condemn Syrian Crackdown
    Margaret Besheer | United Nations
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is facing mounting international pressure to end his crackdown on dissent as the death toll from the country’s violence continues to rise.

    The U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee voted Tuesday to “strongly condemn” Syria’s deadly crackdown on dissent.

  13. The U.N. resolution calls on Damascus to implement an Arab League initiative that would allow the league to send monitors to Syria. The pan-Arab group, which has suspended Syria’s membership, plans to meet on Thursday to discuss the country’s crisis.

    Amnesty International welcomed Tuesday’s U.N. committee vote. The rights group has accused Syrian authorities of human rights violations.

    Syrian activists say security forces killed at least 12 people across the country on Tuesday, including several children. The U.N. says the government crackdown has resulted in more than 3,500 deaths over the past eight months.

  14. Earlier in the day, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Assad to step down. In a televised speech, he said the Syrian president should cede power for the welfare of his own people and the region.

    On Monday, relations between the neighboring countries became more strained after gunmen in northern Syria fired on a convoy of buses carrying Turkish pilgrims. Two Turkish citizens were wounded.

  15. “If you want to see somebody who has fought against its own people until death, look at Nazi Germany, look at Hitler, Mussolini, Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu,” said Erdogan. “If you don’t draw lessons from these, then look at the Libyan leader who was killed just 32 days ago after pointing guns at his own people and using the same expressions as you.”

    “`I repeat my call to Bashar Assad. You should first find those who attacked Turkey’s diplomatic missions, Turkish flag and pilgrims who were passing by your territory and bring them to justice. Without spilling any more blood, without causing any more injustice, for the sake of peace for the people, the country and the region, finally step down.”

  16. Bali Summit
    The Sixth East Asia Summit (EAS), chaired by H.E. DR. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, was held on 19 November 2011 in Bali, Indonesia. The Summit was attended by the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States, Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United States of America. The Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand attended the Summit on behalf of their respective Leaders.

  17. An important issue that came up was China’s protest against outside interference in regional issues. China was referring to the proposed induction of 2500 US Marines in Australia and two US war ships off Singapore. The US assured that the US was interested only in freedom of navigation and was not interfering in regional matters. India asserted its right to explore oil in South Asian waters at the request of particular governments. The Indian PM said that China should respect International Law of the Sea.

  18. In September 2011 a dispute broke out between India and China. India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was in talks with the government of Vietnam over hydrocarbon exploration rights in the South China Sea. China claims all the ol in the South China sea. It claims that it is the owner of the innumerable islands in the region which have rich oil and gas deposits. Its claims are based on old imperial charts and records. Other nations hotly dispute this. south Vietnam and India claim that the oil lying in its economic belt can be exploited either by Vietnam or in collaboration with others. this in fact is International Law. But China does not bother about International Law.

  19. China and Vietnam have competing territorial claims to the sea and the archipelagoes — uninhabited spits of land and rock, for the most part — sitting at its heart. And now the dispute has flared up with Indian agreeing to help Vietnam to mine for oil in the economic belt of Vietnam. China considers India a major challenge to Chinese primacy,The hawkish elements among the leadership in Beijing, sternly warned India against “pursuing this course of action.”

  20. China wants India to bear in mind that its actions in the South China Sea will push China to the limit. China cherishes the Sino-Indian friendship, but this does not mean China values it above all else…
    China says that it has been peaceful for so long that some countries doubt whether it will stick to its stated bottom line. China wishes to remind them of how clear this line really is.

  21. Relying on ancient maps and records China insists on its sovereignty over the South China Sea, Others dispute this. Vietnam and other countries are attracted by the presence of a potentially vast cache of hydrocarbons beneath the waters of the South China sea. And this region is the main thoroughfare for some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

  22. India and China share a long, heavily militarized (and also disputed) land border. A war took lace between the two in 1962. But times have changed and India is better prepared to face aggression now. Gwynne Dyer, a veteran Asia hand, writes: You can attack a land border if you really want to, but it is a very big decision with incalculable consequences: a declaration of war, in effect. Even the most arrogant or paranoid governments will think long and hard before embarking on such an action, and generally they end up by deciding not to do it. Whereas at sea, you can easily drift into a serious military confrontation that neither side intended.” Source Time Magazine

  23. But it is a different ball game if the two countries get into a conflict on the high seas. It involves a third of humanity and heavily nuclear armed powers. The Scenario is grim with China’s string of pearls theory and the revived Mao theory of Five Fingers. Dispute s simmering in Arunachal Pradesh. According to some Indian strategists, China has set up naval facilities and listening posts from Burma to Pakistan, with a strategic, deep-sea port at Hambantota, Sri Lanka, in between.(String of pearls).

  24. Therefore, writes Harsh Pant, an international affairs scholar at King’s College, London, India should play the same game. He writes:
    India is right to forcefully reject Chinese claims of sovereignty over the entire South China Sea. It should now build credible strategic partnerships with other regional states to prevent a Chinese regional dominance that will undermine Indian and regional security interests.

  25. On one level, such thinking makes plenty of sense: as rising powers neither India nor China should compromise their own interests to placate the oft-illusory fears of the other. But, despite the strength of the two countries’ economic ties and the paeans to their friendship that frequently emanate from both capitals, few doubt that the rise of India and China will lead to friction. Neighbors in a complicated region, they are bound to bump up against each other. And when the two nuclear-armed nations that comprise nearly a third of humanity do bump, the stakes will be high — and the fallout potentially incalculable
    Source: Time Magazine

  26. Objectives of the ASEAN Nations

    The aims and purposes of the ASEAN Association are
    (i) to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian nations,
    (ii) to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
    In 1995, the ASEAN Heads of States and Government re-affirmed that “Cooperative peace and shared prosperity shall be the fundamental goals of ASEAN.”

  27. India-ASEAN connectivity is our strategic objective, says Manmohan :

    He flags up India-Myanmar-Thailand highway and Mekong-India economic corridor
    Declaring that India’s partnership with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the foundation of its ‘Look East Policy,’ Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that greater physical connectivity between India and the 10-member grouping remains New Delhi’s “strategic objective.”

    In his statement at the ninth ASEAN-India Summit here on Saturday, Dr. Singh listed proposals, among others, for an India-Myanmar-Thailand highway and its extension to Laos and Cambodia, and the development of a new highway also linking Vietnam. He also referred to a study on a Mekong-India economic corridor, which proposes to link corridors in the peninsular, and possibly the north-eastern, regions of India with the East Asian region.

    With ratification of the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for Trade in Goods in August this year, the ideas to push for greater physical connectivity could be expected to gather pace.

    In his concluding remarks, Dr. Singh appreciated the “widespread” support from every ASEAN leader for early conclusion of the India-ASEAN FTA on Services and Investment and hoped that the agreement would be concluded by March 2012. “I would suggest that all these different proposals [for enhanced physical connectivity] should be studied in an integrated manner by our officials so that we take considered decisions to optimise our resources and efforts,” he said.

    He described as “growing” India’s cooperation with the ASEAN in maritime security, counter-terrorism, training, exercises and disaster management.

    Dr. Singh said India’s trade with ASEAN had increased by 30 per cent in 2010-2011, crossing the $50-billion mark, and with such a rate of growth, the target of $70 billion by 2012 would be feasible.

    He also extended a personal invitation to the ASEAN heads of state to participate in the special ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit scheduled in New Delhi for the third week of December.

    Later in the day, in his statement at the sixth East Asia Summit Plenary Session, Dr. Singh underscored that India fully subscribed to the view that the East Asia Summit process must be centred on the ASEAN, and the ASEAN should be its driving force.

    He later left for Singapore on a two-day visit. Strengthening of economic ties would top the agenda of his interaction with Singapore leaders.

    1. Unless ir is a bit of useful info. please do not give web site addresses. Students have no time to access the web site. It is just a statement of the PM and no full question will be asked on such thngs.

  28. China on Sunday launched two satellites named Chuangxin 1-03 and Shiyan Satellite 4, were launched into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gansu Province by the Long March 2D carrier rocket.

    Chuangxin 1-03 will be used to collect and relay hydrological and meteorological data, information on water conservancy, power supply and disaster relief from monitoring stations, official news agency Xinhua reported.

    Shiyan Satellite 4, developed by the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology, is China’s fourth technology experiment satellite and will be used for experimenting with space technologies and environment probe.

    Chinese officials had earlier said that the country plans to launch 25 satellites by the end of 2011.

    Today’s launch followed the first docking and re-docking of space modules Shenzhou-8, launched on November 1, which docked with the Tiangong-1 module on November 3 in an orbit 343-km above Earth.

    Tiangong-1, which has been in orbit since its launch on September 29, is awaiting docking with Snezhou-9 and 10, expected to be launched next year where one of the two flights will be manned.

    The success of the docking procedure made China the third country in the world, after the United States and Russia, to master the technique.

    The experiments are part of China’s efforts to build a space station of its own by 2020 to rival, Mir, the Russian space station being manned by Russian and US astronauts.

    [Ref: ToI, Nov 20, 2011]

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