In this week's news from outside the country, the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is on a four-day visit to India, arrived in New Delhi on Monday to hold talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual interest. Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has stated that the relationship with China is at a four-decade low. In other news, the first meeting between India, Iran and Uzbekistan on the joint use of Chabahar Port was held on the 14th of December.
Here's a wrap:
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s visit to India
- As reports of UK PM Boris Johnson being invited for the R-Day are doing the rounds, the UK Foreign Secretary Domin Raab is visiting India from 14th-17th December
- Raab is holding talks with Minister of External Affairs, Dr S Jaishankar on 15 December 2020 on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
- He will travel to Bengaluru where he will meet the Chief Minister of Karnataka on 17 December 2020.
- The visit is significant as India is expecting Britain to take a pro-India approach in a revised Indo-Pacific strategy vis-à-vis China. (Listen to our podcast with Defence Analyst Commodore Uday Bhaskar, Director, Society for Policy Studies)
- Reports had also suggested that UK is keen on a G7+ 3 referred to as D-10, a group of democracies to create an alternative source for 5G technology that reduces dependence on China.
- India’s press release said, "Mr Raab’s visit will pave the way for further strengthening of the partnership across trade, defence, climate, migration and mobility, education and health sectors in the post-Covid, post-Brexit context."
First Trilateral Working Group Meeting on Chabahar Port
- The first meeting between India, Iran and Uzbekistan on the joint use of Chabahar Port was held on the 14th of December.
- The three countries discussed the joint use of Chabahar Port for trade and transit purposes and enhanced regional connectivity. All sides also noted the significant role played by Chabahar port for the region to deliver humanitarian assistance during the COVID pandemic.
- India’s proposal to hold "Chabahar Day” on the sidelines of the International Maritime Summit scheduled to be hosted by India in January 2021 was welcomed.
Jaishankar says relationship with China has been "very significantly damaged"
- External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has clearly stated that the relationship with China is at a four decades low and the biggest issue right now is how to get it back on track.
- He said that the relationship has been “very significantly damaged,” while speaking at the Lowy Institute.
- For the first time since 1975, there were casualties on the border. India lost 20 of its soldiers. This, said Dr S Jaishankar, changed the national sentiment.
- He said there was lack of trust now as despite several agreements to maintain peace and tranquility at the border, China had brought in tens of thousands of troops on their side of the border in complete disregard to the agreements that state not bringing in large forces at the LAC.
India-Bangladesh Bilateral Summit
- A Virtual Bilateral Summit will be held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on 17 December 2020.
- "During the Summit, the two leaders will hold comprehensive discussions on the entire spectrum of the bilateral relationship, including further strengthening cooperation in the post COVID era," read the press release by the Indian side.
- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid an official visit to India in October 2019. Prime Minister Modi delivered a video message on the historic occasion of Mujib Borsho in March 2020. Both leaders have remained in regular touch during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expected visit of the Nepali Foreign Minister
- It is expected that the Nepali Foreign Minister will visit India soon though the dates have not been announced by India
- The visit assumes significance due to the friction in the relationship over the new map released by Nepal that included three Indian territories of Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh.