BRI Current Affairs - 2020

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14 MoUs signed at 5th India-Russia Industrial Conference

India and Russia signed 14 Memorandum of Understandings at the India-Russia Industrial Conference held at DefExpo 2020, Lucknow. The Agreements were signed under Make in India initiative.

Highlights

The countries signed agreements related to ASW rocket launchers, T-72, radar systems, 3D modeling, T-90.

The Defence ties of India and Russia has been strong. The countries have also established defence ties through multilateral orgnizations.

India-Russia at multilateral organizations

  • The National Security Advisor attended the BRICS Foreign Ministers meet in June 2019. He met President Putin, the Russian President on the sidelines of the meet to strengthen defence ties between the countries
  • At the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), India participated at the fifth edition of the biennial joint military counter terrorist command for the first time in August 2018.
  • Russia has been one of the long-standing supporters of India’s membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • Russia welcomes One Belt One Road initiative of China.
  • Russia also welcomes the International North-South Transport Corridor that was held in March 2019. It is a 7,2000 km long international multi-node rail, road and ship route between Europe and Central Asia. It includes India, Russia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Europe.

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Myanmar-China sign 33 deals of BRI: Increases China’s ease of access of Indian Ocean

On January 18, 2020, China and Myanmar signed 33 new deals under BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) to implement China-Myanmar Economic Corridor. Also, a concession agreement was signed by he countries to implement the deep seaport project called Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone.

Highlights

The agreements were signed to strengthen the collaboration in infrastructure sector that includes rail connectivity, roads and power interconnection projects. However, the controversial Myitsone dam project that is backed by China was not discussed.

India’s Concerns

The project allows China to have easy of access to Indian Ocean. This is because this route bypasses Strait of Malacca through which China imports most of its oil requirements. Strait of Malacca connects Andaman Sea and South China Sea. This route is on the international boundary and is far from India’s territories as compared to the Myanmar route. With China of Ease of access to Indian Ocean, India has to strengthen its Navy to safeguard its interests in the region. Also, Indian Navy is already witnessing increased Chinese presence in the IOR.

This will aid in China’s plans of String of Pearls.

Myitsone Dam

The project was proposed across Irawaddy river. It was suspended and the Chinese tried to revive it at an estimated cost of 3.6 billion USD. The project is controversial as it is located at a 60-mile distance from the Sagaing fault line.

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