Current Affairs 2017 (July)

India is world’s third-biggest beef exporter: OECD-FAO report

According to recently released OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026 report, India is the world’s third-biggest exporter of beef. Brazil was ranked as the world’s top beef exporter followed by Australia.

The report was released jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD).

Key Highlights of Report

India exported 1.56 million tonnes of beef in 2016. It is expected to maintain its position as the third-largest beef exporter, accounting for 16% of global exports in 2026 by exporting 1.93 tonnes that year. India imported 363,000 tonnes of beef in 2016 and the amount was projected to stay the same over the decade.

The type of beef exported was not specified, but the exported meat appears to be mostly from buffaloes as the report has specified the animal for imports by Myanmar from India. It needs to be clarified whether the report classifies even buffalo meat as beef.

The total world beef exports was 10.95 million tonnes in 2016 and it is expected to increase to 12.43 million tonnes by 2026. Till 2015, India was the world’s largest exporter of beef and had extended its lead over the next highest exporter, Brazil.

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Sri Lanka, China sign $1.1 billion Hambantota port deal

Sri Lanka has signed a US $1.1 billion deal to sell a 70% stake of the strategic Hambantota deep-sea port to China. Hambantota port is a deep-water port in the southern tip of Sri Lanka. It sits close to busy east-west shipping lanes connecting Europe and Asia.

The deal was signed between Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and China Merchants Port Holding Co. (CMPort). Under the 99-year lease agreement, CMPort will invest up to US $1.1 billion in the port and marine-related activities. CMPort will be only responsible for commercial operations, while the SLPA will handle port’s operations, security and services.

Comment

The port is expected to play a key role in China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI), which will link ports and roads between China and

Europe. It is also considered that, this deal gives an advantage to China in the bunkering business, which provides fuel to ships.

India’s Concern

India is apprehensive that the port is part of Chinese ‘string of pearls’ with an objective to surround India and dock its military vessels. The String of pearls is a geopolitical theory on potential Chinese intentions in the Indian Ocean region. It refers to the network of Chinese military and commercial facilities and relationships along its sea lines of communication extending from the Chinese mainland to Port Sudan. These sea lines run through several major maritime choke points such as the Strait of Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca and the Lombok Strait as well as other strategic maritime centres in Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Somalia.

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