The World Outside: Trudeau's Concern Over Farmers' Protest, Chinese Apps Ban and Hopes of Covid-19 Vaccine

Dec 01, 2020 11:33 PM IST

In this week's news from outside the country, India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Nepal and the country's leaders. This was the first high-level diplomatic meet since the slide in ties between India and Nepal following the boundary on the map issue. Meanwhile, India banned some more Chinese apps. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a chat with UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson on thoughts and challenges about Covid-19. On 4th December, envoys of around 100 countries are expected to visit the Serum Institute of India.

Justin Trudeau's statement on the farmers' protests in India receives sharp reaction from India

- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while addressing the Indian diaspora on Gurpurab said that the situation with regards to the farmers' protest was "concerning". He also revealed that they had reached out to the Indian government through multiple means to express concern.

- The spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs responded by calling his comments "ill-informed." India further stated that "Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country. It is also best that diplomatic  conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes.”

- spoke to India's former high commissioner to Canada, Vishnu Prakash to understand "political purposes" behind Trudeau's comment.

- Vishnu Prakash explained how the Sikh community was concentrated in certain pockets in Canada and had the ability to influence 8-15 Parliamentary seats so according to him Trudeau "appeases" this segment of the society for political reasons at the cost of diplomatic ties.

In the neighbourhood: Foreign Secretary visits Nepal

- This was the first diplomatic step after the friction over the new Nepal map which included three Indian territories of Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh.

- India’s press release said that in the meeting between the foreign secretaries, "they also discussed the boundary matters and exchanged views on completing the boundary work in the remaining segments."

- News 18 has learnt that there was some level of all-round remorse expressed over the passage of the new map in June and it was conveyed that it was compelled due to domestic politics.

- Apart from his counterpart, the FS met the foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali and conveyed an invitation from EAM S Jaishankar to the Foreign Minister of Nepal to visit India for the next round of the Joint Commission meeting.

- He also met for a one-on-one meeting Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the President Bidya Devi Bhandari.

SCO Heads of Government meeting

- It was hosted virtually by India.

- Vice President Venkaiah Naidu presided over it and attended by the Prime Ministers of other member states except for Pakistan which was represented by their foreign ministry official.

- India didn’t endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative that found mention in the Joint Communique. It said – “The Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan, reaffirming their support for China’s "One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) Initiative (BRI), note the ongoing work on joint implementation of this project, including efforts to bridge construction The Eurasian Economic Union and OBOR.”

- The Joint Communique also spoke about WTO reforms, it said – “The Heads of delegations noted the importance of further deepening cooperation in order to support and jointly develop a transparent, open, inclusive, fair, non-discriminatory multilateral trading system based on the principles and rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to promote an open world economy.”

- Vice President Venkaiah Naidu hit out at Pakistan obliquely by saying – “India condemns terrorism in all its manifestations. We remain concerned about threats emerging from ungoverned spaces and are particularly concerned about States that leverage terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Such an approach is entirely against the spirit and ideals and the Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Bahrain, UAE and Seychelles from November 24 to 29

- Bahrain: Both sides affirmed to further strengthen their Covid-related cooperation. They also expressed satisfaction on operationalisation of Air Bubble arrangement between the two countries.

- UAE: EAM briefed the UAE side on the progress made by India in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, both on the health and economic front. Both sides reviewed their cooperation on various facets of their comprehensive strategic partnership including trade, investment, infrastructure, energy, food security and defence.

- Seychelles: President Ramkalwan appreciated the assistance provided by India during the pandemic in the form of medical supplies and critical drugs. He valued the development and security partnership between the two countries and spoke of its positive impact on nation building in Seychelles. EAM, on his part, emphasized India’s commitment to support the interests and aspirations of Seychelles and take this cooperation to a higher level.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval attended the 4th NSA Level Meeting on Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation in Colombo

- Apart from the Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka and NSA Shri Ajit Doval from India, Defence Minister H.E. Mariya Didi will also participate in the meeting representing the Maldives.

- The meeting will provide an opportunity for discussion on issues pertaining to cooperation in maritime security in the Indian Ocean region.

Ban on Chinese mobile apps by India

- Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued an order under section 69A of the Information Technology Act blocking access to 43 mobile apps. “This action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

- The Chinese embassy responded saying - We firmly oppose the Indian side’s repeated use of “national security” as an excuse to prohibit some Mobile APPs with a Chinese background.

PM Modi speaks to Boris Johnson

- The two leaders exchanged thoughts about the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and reviewed the promising cooperation between India and UK in the area of vaccine development and manufacturing.

- The leaders reiterated their shared desire to impart a quantum jump to the India-UK partnership in the post-COVID, post-BREXIT era, and agreed that there was tremendous potential for enhancing collaboration in trade and investment, scientific research, mobility of professionals and students, and defence and security.

Look forward

- Envoys of around 100 countries are expected to visit the Serum Institute of India, Pune on the 4th Of December to get an update on the development of the vaccine being manufactured by SII in conjunction with AstraZeneca-Oxford.