Geopolitical conflict amongst the oil-rich countries of West Asia and the U.S. is one of the most complex and dynamic situations in the world. The recent war with the Taliban, the killing of Saddam Hussain, assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps by an airstrike conspired by the U.S. government has led to various implications on trade, economics, foreign relations including a hike in gold prices, unstable oil prices, maritime security and most frightening the awful death of several civilians.
The Persian Gulf countries including Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Qatar share common passage for seaborne traffic. The strait of Hormuz, a channel situated between the borders of Oman and Iran, is one of the significant waterways that link crude oil producers in the Middle East with the rest of the world. It bears approximately 30% of the world’s seaborne oil traffic.
These countries have a long history wherein they have shared friendly ties and had been at loggerheads with each other. One of the reasons for such restrained relations could be attributed to hunger to dominate the neighbouring oil-rich country or to become the supreme power. Having said that, the interference by the U.S. or the presence of the U.S. Army in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria had also played a significant role in increasing the tension.
Iran was also a close ally of the U.S. until 1979 when the Iranian revolution happened and Shiite led Islamic group overthrew Shah Mohammad Reza. The new group in power in Iran kept American Embassy staff hostage in Tehran for around 445 days, which further deteriorated the relations between U.S. and Iran. Further tensions grew between them because of other events including Iran building its nuclear weapon base and the U.S. becoming more friendly with other countries of the Middle East.
Once again a terrible situation has arisen in Afghanistan because of the alleged reckless foreign policy by the U.S. which demands the international community to ensure world peace, the safety of people, maritime security etc.
What could happen if every other country becomes destabilize? The unnecessary airstrikes by the U.S. now and then could lead to severe retaliation. Such acts of aggression amount to a breach of security and sovereignty.
Right after President Ashraf Ghani absconded from Afghanistan; the Taliban expressed their intention that they would not want U.S. troops in their territory and demanded transfer of power to avoid bloodshed. The entire transition of power looked like a cakewalk as no resistance was witnessed from the Afghan military. It is beyond a reasonable man’s understanding that how 20 years of training of Afghan military by the U.S. military mingled in the soil in seconds.
Surprisingly, some press conferences were held wherein Talibanis were seen occupying President’s office along with some of Afghanistan’s government officials, supposedly, for the transfer of power.
On the contrary, the Afghan citizens who have been protesting against the government were seen panicking at the airport. Some devastating videos of people falling from the aeroplane were also aired. These protestors have raised concern over the increasing exploitation of women and children by the Taliban.
The larger concern is the broader geopolitical conflict between the U.S. on one side and countries like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, and China on the other side. So far, India’s stance has not been pro-Taliban but pro-Afghans because of our history with them including the involvement of the Taliban in the Indian Airlines Flight 814 hijacking.
Having said that, India has not declared the Taliban as a Terrorist organization so far, neither has the U.S. The U.S. recognizes the Taliban as an insurgency, a revolutionary group, instead of a terrorist organization due to political reasons.
India has often expressed its concern over the violation of fundamental rights of Afghans and has requested the world community as well as the security council to ensure an immediate cessation of violence and address humanitarian and security issues. India’s ambassador to the UN, TN Tirumurti also highlighted the concern over the ongoing development projects in Afghanistan provinces in power, water, road, healthcare etc.
Russia, China and Pakistan seem to have made their stance clear and showed their willingness to involve in talks with the Taliban. While the whole debate has now shifted towards the issue of recognition or non-recognition of Taliban as a legal government, the larger concern of interference by the so-called superpowers in the territory of other countries in the wake of fighting terrorism needs utmost attention.
Also, the fact that how so many arms and ammunition are being produced and sold by the super powers to these countries which in turn is used for terrorism. Why are such discussions not happening in UN?
Given the situation now, time will tell whether U.S. will continue to get cooperation from Iraq following the chaotic and severe situation created by the U.S. in Afghanistan? Iran may also be able to influence Iraq to push the U.S. troops out of Iraq.
The US has been instrumental in destabilizing Iraq and Iran as well. The assassination of Qassim Soleimani in February 2020 by the US led to severe criticism and chaos. Similarly, during the sudden evacuation of US troops from Afghanistan, people from several other countries living in Afghanistan were exposed to the likelihood of injury or maybe death.
Isn’t it a reckless foreign policy of the U.S. led government, which have left the whole region in chaos? The incessant airstrikes, bombings have left Afghanistan into a cemetery.
The entire situation highlights the inability of the UN or UNSC in maintaining international peace and security and finding diplomatic solutions.
The heightened tension in the region would also have repercussions for India. India is exposed to several risks including security issues from Pakistan since it is believed that Pakistan might infiltrate into Kashmir with the Taliban’s support. The ever-increasing challenge of accommodating refugees is another challenge that needs global attention.
India is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention on Refugees or the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees unlike other nations such as the US, EU. Although India does not have an official refugee policy, it has given refuge to many Afghans [during the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989), the Afghan Civil War (1992-96), during the Taliban rule (1996-2001) and recent Taliban rule (2021).
According to UNHRC data for 2020, the total number of refugees from Afghanistan globally is roughly 28 lakh of which India has the 12th highest number of Afghan refugees. Currently, the exact figure is not clear but as per few media reports, the Afghan diaspora in India is close to 8,00,000 registered refugees and at least two million more who are unregistered. Recently, a lot of media reports and videos have circulated wherein Afghans living in India for years have expressed their concerns of economic difficulties, not finding adequate jobs, no promising future and unstable life.
Many Hindu and Sikh Afghans have also been evacuated from Afghanistan, which is seen as a political move to gain Hindu and Sikh votes. Many believe that the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) makes it impossible for Afghan refugees to acquire Indian citizenship because, under the law, Citizenship would be expedited for Hindus, Christians, Sikhs etc. only from neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Another concern is the investment India has made ininfrastructure projects in Afghanistan. The Afgan Parliament house was financially supported by India for $90 million, there are numerous other projects including irrigation, dams, highway and building projects in total costing approximately $3 billion, India happens to be the largest regional donors to the country.
A stable West Asia is important for our energy (oil and gas) needs. With Indian investments in Afghanistan as well as in Iran such as the Chahbahar port and Farzad B gas field, it would become important to balance our strategic autonomy with the increased U.S. threat of sanctions. The key lies in maintaining our principled stand of non-intervention in internal affairs of other nations, along with looking for a peaceful settlement of dispute. The time has come to meticulously watch every developed nation’s step
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Share of agri-exports in GDP
The year-wise details of value of India’s agri-exports of principal agri commodity group along with its share in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices during last five years is as follows:
The agricultural products having exports of more than Rs 10,000 crore over the last five years is given in the table below. Last year we had 22.8% of growth in agri-exports with a share of 1.6% to GDP (highest in terms of growth and share in the last five years).
Source: DGCI&S, Kolkata and CSO, MoSPI
Source: DGCI&S, Kolkata
Government has taken several measures to boost exports, including agri-exports, such as:
(i) A comprehensive “Agriculture Export Policy” has been introduced toharness export potential of Indian agriculture and raise farmers’ income. Twenty One States viz. Maharashtra, U.P., Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, M.P., Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh and the 2 UTs vizLadakh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have finalized the State specific Action Plans. State Level Monitoring Committees (SLMC) has been formed in 26 States and 4 UTs. 28 States & 4 UTs have nominated Nodal agencies for implementation of this AEPs. As part of the Agriculture Export Policy, 46 unique product-district clusters have been identified for export promotion. Twenty-Nine Cluster Level Committees have been formed in cluster districts of different clusters. Country and product-specific action plans have also been formulated to promote exports.
(ii) Products Specific Export Promotion Forums give impetus to the export of potential products as well as to remove the bottlenecks in the supply chain, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has formed Export Promotion Forums (EPFs) under the Chairmanship of Chairman, APEDA and having representatives of Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, State Governments, National Referral Laboratories and top 10 leading exporters of each product for the products, viz., Grapes, Onions, Mango, Banana, Pomegranate, Floriculture, Rice, Dairy Products and Nutricereals.
(iii) 13 Agri-Cells in Vietnam, USA, Bangladesh, Nepal, UAE, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Japan and Argentina were created in Indian embassies abroad to provide inputs on real time basis to enable us to improve Indian exports.
(iv) Further, In order to boost honey exports, India has made NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) testing mandatory for honey exported to USA.
(v) A Farmer Connect Portal has been set up for providing a platform for farmers, Farmer-Producer Organizations (FPOs) and cooperatives to interact with exporters. Buyer-Seller Meets (BSMs) have been organized in the clusters to provide export-market linkages. Regular interactions, through video-conferences, have been held with the Indian Missions abroad to assess and exploit export opportunities. Country specific BSMs, through Indian Missions, have also been organized.
(vi) Assistance provided through several other schemes to promote exports, including food export, viz. Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES), Market Access Initiatives (MAI) Scheme, etc. In addition, assistance to the exporters of food products is also available under the export promotion schemes of APEDA, Tea Board, Coffee Board and Spices Board.
(vii) Government has also introduced a Central Sector Scheme –‘Transport and Marketing Assistance for Specified Agriculture Products’ – for providing assistance for the international component of freight to mitigate the freight disadvantage for the export of agriculture products.
(viii) Common Digital Platform for Certificate of Origin has been launched to facilitate trade and increase FTA utilization by exporters.
(ix) Active role of Indian missions abroad towards promoting our trade, tourism, technology and investment goals has been enhanced.
(x) Package announced in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to support domestic industry through various banking and financial sector relief measures, especially for MSMEs, which constitute a major share in exports.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
Share of India’s exports in annual GDP
The details of exports of goods and services and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices, and percentage share of India’s exports to the GDP for the last five years and current year are as follows:
Source: National Accounts Division, CSO, MoSPI Note: RE: Revised Estimate, PE : Provisional Estimate
The share of export of goods and services in GDP has increased to 18.7% during 2020-21 over 18.4% in 2019-20 and 21.7% in 2021-22 (April-September) over 19.4% in 2020-21 (April-September).
The details of the annual rate of growth of exports of goods and services and the corresponding annual rate of growth of GDP at current prices for the last five years and current year are as follows: This information was given by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
Consolidation of trading relationship with the US
USA has been the largest trading partner of India with respect to merchandise trade since the FY 2018-19, except 2020-21 when trade with the U.S. declined marginally on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the current FY 2021-22 (April- October), USA has once again become the largest trading partner with bilateral merchandise trade of US$ 67.41 billion, accounting for 11.98% of India’s total merchandise trade. (as per DGCIS figures)
India and United States enjoy a comprehensive strategic partnership covering a broad range of areas, underpinned by shared democratic values and vibrant people-to-people contacts. Trade and commercial ties form an important component of this multi-faceted partnership. India and the U.S. are continuously engaged in strengthening these ties through bilateral dialogue mechanisms at Ministerial level including the Trade Policy Forum and Commercial Dialogue.
The 12th India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum meeting co-chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister of India and the U.S. Trade Representative was held recently in November, 2021 at New Delhi, in which both the Ministers discussed various outstanding trade issues for early resolution on mutual basis, and also reached convergence on certain market access issues.
The bilateral trade with Australia, UAE and Belgium has gone up in the first nine months (Jan-Sept) of Calendar Year 2021. During this period, India’s bilateral trade with Australia has increased to US$ 13.88 billion in 2021 from US$ 7.48 billion in the corresponding period of 2020. The bilateral trade with UAE has grown to US$ 49.06 billion in 2021 from US$ 29.48 billion in 2020 for the same period. The bilateral trade with Belgium has also grown to US$ 13.70 in 2021 from US$ 7.63 billion in 2020 for the same period. (as per DGCIS figures).
This information was given by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.
The 12th India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum meeting co-chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister of India and the U.S. Trade Representative was held recently in November, 2021 in New Delhi, in which both the Ministers discussed various outstanding trade issues for early resolution on mutual basis.
India can emerge as the largest diamond trading hub in the world: Piyush Goyal
Exports of gems and jewellery more than double and rise to $23.62 bn in the first 7 months this FY as compared to last year: Piyush Goyal.
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal today said India can emerge as the largest diamond trading hub in the world. In a video message during the Inauguration Ceremony of Gems & Jewellery Manufacturing Show – 2021”, organised by the Surat Jewellery Manufacturing Association (SJMA), Shri Goyal said the Government has declared the Gems & Jewellery sector as a focus area for export promotion.
“We have established ourselves as the largest player in diamond cutting & polishing, we can become the largest international diamond trading hub,” he said.
Exports of gems and jewellery this FY in the first 7 months upto October’ 21 was $ 23.62 bn, as compared to $ 11.69 bn (+102.09%) for the same period previous year.
“Superior quality of our manufacturers has enabled us to penetrate markets like Dubai-UAE, USA, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Latin America,” he said.
Goyal said the Government has taken various measures to promote investment for growth of the sector, – Revamped Gold Monetisation Scheme, Reduction in import duty of gold and mandatory hallmarking.
“We have the best artisan force for designing and crafting in the world, there is a need to focus on strengthening creativity & systematic skill development of artisans,” he said, adding, “We should make our products a benchmark of quality, to further expand in new markets & deepen presence in existing ones.”.
Goyal laid out four points to make India’s Gems & Jewellery a pioneer industry in the world:
1.Focus on Design (creation of patented designs) in order to increase value add of our products and make our manufacturing more profitable.
2.Diversification of export products: Emphasis on products like pearls, silver, platinum, synthetic stones, artificial diamonds, fashion jewellery, non-gold jeweller, etc.
3.Collaboration with other nations for cost-effective methods to enhance production of fusion jewellery.
4.Promote Lab-Grown Diamond: They are environment friendly & affordable and will contribute to India’s export as well as generate employment.
Goyal said Surat is, perhaps, one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is home to more than 450 organised jewellery manufacturers, importers & exporters. It has the potential to become the jewellery manufacturing hub of the world, he added.
“I visited the Diamond Bourse in September on the day of the Honourable Prime Minister’s birthday and I was impressed by the efforts put to create the world’s largest office building which will serve as the hub of all Diamond trading activities. It is an example of Prime Minister’s Aatmanirbharta and your Aatmavishwas. It is a testament of the fact that if we are willing enough we can do anything on our own. Jewellers are woven into the fabric of our nation. People don’t just spend money when they buy gold & jewellery in our country but invest their life’s savings when they do so. Jewellers are the repositories of trust and faith of our people,” said Goyal.
The Minister said, the SJMA, since its inception in 2016, has championed the cause of improving the jewellery industry in Surat. “Their ‘Make in Surat’ programme has facilitated innovation & promoted skill development to build a robust jewellery manufacturing ecosystem.”
Stating that India’s Gems & Jewellery sector is known all over the world for its Charm & Cost Effectiveness, Shri Goyal said this sector embodies the spirit of New India, contributing about 7% of India’s total GDP & employing more than 50 lakh workers. “Our jewellers have mastered the art of diamond manufacturing & jewellery making and have made it a shining example of ‘Make in India’,” he said.
Quoting a proverb, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”, Goyal said our G&J sector has the potential to realise the goal of “Local Goes Global and Make in India for the World” and become the driving force of New India. “For progress there is a need for change in mindset,” he said.
Is an inventive move a solution for the sustainability of the fashion industry?
Clothing industry is the contemplation of our values, culture and society in which we live in. However if we see today it is fundamental reflection of our identity .The fashion industry constitutes a significant part of our economies as well as vicinity, with the worth of more than 2.5 trillion $USD and giving employment to more than 75 million of people worldwide.
The sector has seen extensive amount of growth over the last years, as clothing production has doubled between the tenure from 2000 and 2014.As the fashion industry is achieving sky rocketing success, it is negatively impacting to the environment in terms of carbon emissions, drying up the water sources and polluting water and streams.
We must emphasize on the fact that it’s production not only could seriously influence our environment but people as well as culture we live in.The toxic substances utilised in the production of the textiles is putting harmful impact not only on the health of the human resources engaged but also on the vicinity which is being around it.
But there are some of the solutions through which we could move in a right direction:
Orientation towards Fashion: A developing number of pioneers have changed how they see what shoppers are truly after – admittance to mold, not really responsibility for. An arising wave of organizations are offering clothing as a help .Such plans of action can possibly drive up the nature of items to guarantee life span, make shopping simple while giving a channel to reclaim, reuse or reusing. These models will not be applicable for all market sections or fulfill all purchaser inclinations, yet can absolutely be essential for the arrangement.
Emphasize on Function: From lab-developed calfskin to reasonable cellulose-based materials, great advancements are testing customary suppositions regarding how elite execution materials are created. For instance, Lenzing has fostered a reasonable cellulose-based material, Tencel, that guarantees quality, execution and supportability. Social business visionary Modern Meadow is bringing design into the lab, making “biofabricated” materials, with the first bio-designed cowhide dispatched a year ago. This is just the actual hint of something larger in what developments can be investigated to rethink materials creation.
Formulation of Recovery economy: Today, under 1% of material used to form clothing is reused into new dress, and just 13% of the complete material information is here and there reused after apparel use. While numerous customers think they are doing acceptable by giving garments, the sheer volume of gifts implies a lot of winds up in landfills. Financial motivators to support clothing reusing are feeble, and mechanical advancement is deficient. A couple of computerized stages for apparel reclaim are arising to boost purchasers, like Yellow Octopus, however a solid government push will be needed to rebalance what is presently a messed up market framework for recuperation and reusing. Strategy choices including broadened maker obligation and out and out guideline to, for instance, boycott the consuming of unsold style things have started to come to fruition in nations like France and the UK.
Joint Effort: Youngsters are forming a basic part in making a more manageable design area – with in excess of 30 World Economic Forum Global Shaper center points driving a Shaping Fashion drive through ground-up aggregate activity. While the weight of effect ought not tumble to shoppers to address, their commitment in both requiring a more supportable future, while additionally taking an interest in a roundabout economy for style is basic to move the framework.
While a couple of sparkling stars are making a serious move, they can’t move a whole style framework, with its immensely appropriated supply chains and very cut throat nature. Worldwide public and private area authority supported by activities at scale will be basic. Late certain signs are arising: the assembling body Global Fashion Agenda is advancing a 2020 circularity responsibility that more than 10% of the business has embraced, France is utilizing its G7 initiative to lead an approach push and has approached François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, to bring business along. The European Commission has additionally featured materials as the following need for administrative concentration, and more nations are investigating public strategy and administrative activities.
Eco friendly material mix: There is a requirement of reducing the influence of harmful fibres and requirement of more sustainable fibre.
Fashion system that orient towards closed loop: There should be formulation of those products which take into consideration the reuse and recycling of post customer textiles at scale.
Fourth Industrial Revolution : It means taking into account those possibilities in the digitalization and immerse with the different kinds of stakeholders to prepare for transition of workforce…
Pawan Kumar takes over as Director (Commercial) at Indraprastha Gas Limited
Pawan Kumar has taken over as Director (Commercial) of Indraprastha Gas Ltd. (IGL), the largest CNG distribution company of the country, operating City Gas Distribution (CGD) networks across 27 districts in ten geographical areas across four states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
A graduate in Industrial Engineering from prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee and post graduate in management from S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai, Mr. Kumar is a senior leader in hydrocarbon space having a rich experience of over 33 years across multiple regions in various roles during his tenure in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). He has worked across the entire value chain in LPG sector, including Marketing, Operations, Maintenance, Safety, Training, Strategy, Network Expansion, Distribution Channel Management, Logistics etc. Before joining the current assignment, he was the Regional LPG Head for Northern Region of BPCL comprising seven states & three Union Territories servicing 2.5 crore customers & 2000 distributors. He has been the pioneer in implementation of Ujjwala Scheme across states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and Chandigarh.
Mr. Kumar has taken over the position of Director (Commercial) from Mr. Amit Garg, who has been repatriated back to his parent organization BPCL to Head the new vertical of Renewable Energy. IGL is a joint venture of GAIL (India) Ltd. and BPCL along with Govt. of NCT of Delhi.
Mr. Kumar is a senior leader in hydrocarbon space having a rich experience of over 33 years across multiple regions in various roles during his tenure in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).
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