Latvia Current Affairs

Latvia becomes first Baltic Sea country to link with China’s OBOR

Latvia has become the first country in the Baltic Sea area to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to link up with China’s One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative.

The MoU was signed after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s meeting with his Latvian counterpart Maris Kucinskis in Riga (capital of Latvia). It was Chinese Premier’s first visit to the European Union country.

Besides, Latvia and China also singed five agreements on cooperation in such areas as small and medium-sized enterprises, transportation and logistics.

What is China’s One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative?

  • OBOR initiative is China’s ambitious development strategy and framework that aims to boost its connectivity and trade across Asia, Africa and Europe.
  • It comprises two components viz. the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
  • OBOR initiative is part of China’s revived 21st century Silk Road diplomacy that seeks to push it to take a bigger role in global affairs as a major global power.

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Ukraine crisis: NATO suspends civilian and military co-operation with Russia

Following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, NATO suspended all practical civilian and military co-operation with Russia.  Russia’s annexation is being considered as a threat to European security.

The 28-member NATO bloc gathered in Brussels (Belgium) for their first meeting since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and stalwartly condemned Russia’s ‘illegal’ annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. NATO is also considering options like situating permanent military bases in the Baltic States, to restore confidence amongst the members in Eastern Europe.

Why NATO is suspending civilian and military co-operation with Russia?

Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region was being considered the solemnest hazard to European security for quite sometime. Russia’s of Ukraine’s Crimea region has now fazed nerves in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which were a part of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Baltic States which were a part of Soviet Union like Ukraine, whose Crimean territory was recently annexed by Russia, also fear an annexation in future.

The map below shows the position of Ukraine, Crimea region, Russia and Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) in RED.

Russia-Ukraine-Crimea-Baltic States

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Also called the (North) Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty (signed on 4 April 1949). The organization comprises a system of collective defence through which its member states accord to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external threat.

  • Formation: April 4, 1949
  • Type: Military alliance
  • Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium
  • Membership: 28 states
  • Members: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, UK, USA

Baltic States

Baltic States or countries are 3 northern European countries east of the Baltic Sea – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which attained independence from the Russian Empire in the backwash of World War I. In the period between the World Wars, the Baltic States also included Finland.

  • Membership: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

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