Ceasefire declared between Israel and Hamas; China-Saudi ‘currency swap’ pact

This week is ending on a positive note! After fighting with each other vehemently for over a month, Israel and Hamas finally announced a ceasefire agreement (not an end) this week to exchange the war captives. Though it is just a pause in the war, we cannot negate the power of diplomacy and dialogue as […]

This week is ending on a positive note! After fighting with each other vehemently for over a month, Israel and Hamas finally announced a ceasefire agreement (not an end) this week to exchange the war captives. Though it is just a pause in the war, we cannot negate the power of diplomacy and dialogue as Qatar mediated and convinced both Israel and Hamas to announce a four-day ceasefire to release the captive women and children from both the sides. This ceasefire will enable the release of 50 women and children held captive in Gaza and 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails. On the other hand, another example of successful diplomacy was set in New Delhi where India and Australia held the significant 2+2 Dialogue to discuss the future roadmap of their strategic partnership. India and Australia discussed a plethora of relevant topics spanning from defence collaborations to the free and stable Indo-Pacific and more during this 2+2 Dialogue with a special emphasis on multidimensional cooperation spanning trade, security and defence, energy, culture and education. Last but not the least, this week also observed a special development in the economic domain where China and Saudi Arabia announced a ‘currency swap’ agreement to boost the power of their local currencies and ‘de-dollarize’ global economy.
China, Saudi Arabia ink $7B currency swap, challenging USD
China is facing a major economic setback presently, and Xi has a long list of economic issues to address. To give a quintessential dose to its economy, internationalise its currency and ousting the dominance of dollar from the global economy, China has signed a currency swap agreement with Saudi Arabia worth around seven billion USD. This agreement will enable both the countries to exchange the fixed amount of Yuan for an equivalent value in Rial. China is also encouraging foreign investors to enter Chinese markets through Panda bonds. This would certainly impact the present dollar-dominated global economic framework. Also, Chinese banks are providing Yuan-based loans to the countries like Peru and Malaysia under its ‘belt and road initiative’ (read: the debt trap) to assert its power and relegate the supremacy of the US in global economy. It would be interesting to see how the US responds to this. However, if we remove the Chinese angle, currency swaps empower developing nations to strengthen their economies and internationalising their currencies, a much-required objective to democratize global economy.
Israel, Hamas announce ceasefire for war captives’ release
Israel and Hamas finally announced a much-awaited ceasefire in the war to release war captives from both the sides. The agreement was announced on Wednesday after the mediation by Quatar. As per this ceasefire, there would be a four-day pause in the war to release the war captives from both the sides along with the speedy delivery of the humanitarian aid in to the Palestinian territory. Israel has also stated that this timeline could be increased to release all the war captives. Though this would help Hamas leaders to flee and find a safe hiding place, the world has welcomed this ceasefire agreement considering the humanitarian perspective. I hope this ceasefire converts in to the end of the war!
India-Australia 2+2 Dialogue Strengthens Bilateral Relations
Wars always result in multi-faced repercussions that are to be borne by the entire world. Hence, dialogues provides that space where the wars could be prevented. India and Australia held the significant 2+2 ministerial dialogue this week in New Delhi. The ministers of External Affairs and Defence from both the sides met and discussed the future discourse of the strengthened partnership between both the nations. Apart from sharing the similar history of the colonial rule, both India and Australia are Indo-Pacific partners with a shared objective for a stable, inclusive and influence-free region. Both India and Australia work multilaterally as well as bilaterally as dynamic partners. This dialogue provides an opportunity to the Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to meet their Australian counterparts Richard Marles and Penny Wong to advance their cooperation and collaboration under the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership. They reviewed the progress made so far in this partnership journey and discussed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations, convergences in QUAD, radicalism in Canada, Israel-Hamas conflict, the situation of humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the two-state solution, possibilities in the areas of trade, security, defence and education and more. All in all, this dialogue opened a new window of opportunities for both the nations to elevate their partnership.
Many criticise such dialogues and call them a fallacy, but I think these dialogues provide a much-needed breathing space to the leaders and nations in the global politics. These dialogues work as refreshing disruptions where the leaders can at least discuss various geopolitical issues and plausible solutions. These dialogues are becoming a vital vehicle of strengthening and promoting bilateral as well as multilateral relations. In this multi-dimensional world of complex interdependence, these dialogues make the leaders understand each other’s needs leading them towards a win-win situation for both the sides. Hope the humanity wins through these dialogues and diplomacy!

(The author is Professor, School of International Studies, JNU)