China-Pakistan Current Affairs - 2020

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India deploys INS Vikramaditya amidst Sea Guardians-The China-Pakistan naval drill

On January 6, 2020, China and Pakistan had launched a naval drill in North Arabian Sea called the Sea Guardians. The aim of the drill is to increase inter-operability between the two navies. On January 10, 2020, India deployed its INS Vikramaditya in North Arabian Sea where the exercise is being held.

Highlights

China and Pakistan launched a nine-day mega naval exercise. The Exercise Sea Guardians is taking place when there are heightened tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir issue.

Significance of deployment of INS VIkramaditya

In September 2019, Indian Navy drove out a Chinese PLA in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone and warned that such activities will be dealt sternly. Also, China has been increasing its presence in the region lately. China has built a naval base in Djibouti in Horn of Africa from where Arabian Sea provides entry to Indian Ocean. Also, China is developing Pakistan’s Gwadar port, thereby increasing its presence in North Arabian Sea.

Therefore, it is essential for India to give signals to its neighbours that it is cautiously watching their activities. Also,India wants to make sure the maritime delimitation is well maintained.

Why INS Vikramaditya?

Apart from all other ships, INS Vikramaditya is one of the top-rated aircraft carriers globally. It was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 2013. It is about 284 metres long, 60 m high. It has a total of 22 decks. It can carry 30 aircrafts that includes Chetak helicopter, MiG 29K, Kamov 28, ALH-Dhruv, etc.

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External Affairs Minister visits Iran

External Affairs Minister was on a two-day visit to Iran between December 22-23, 2019. During his visit he chaired the 19th Joint Commission Meeting with his Iranian Counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Highlights

The leaders at the Joint Commission Meeting agreed to Strengthen and accelerate Chabahar project. The visit comes after US has provided narrow exemption to India from sanctions. US had earlier imposed sanctions on Iran for its accumulation of nuclear weapons. India has been exempted as the project intends towards development of Afghanistan.

The Minister also met Iranian President. The President expressed satisfaction in operationalization of Shahid Beheshti port as well.

Shahid Beheshti port

Chabahar is the only port of Iran. It consists of two separate ports namely Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti. India and Iran agreed to develop Shahid Kalantari port in 2003. However, it was dropped following sanctions on Iran. The project was again taken up in 2016. Under the agreement, India will construct 600-meter-long container handling facility at the port. India has already begun its operation at the port in 2016.

Other Discussions

India and Iran also agreed to celebrate their 70th anniversary of bilateral treaty of friendship in 2020. The countries will promote people-to-people contact, organize cultural festivals, youth exchanges and also exchanges between Parliamentarians

Background

India and Iran signed the “Chabahar Project” in 2017. It is an 85 million USD project that aims to develop Chabahar port in south-eastern Iran. The Chabahar port is an alternate route for trade between India and Afghanistan. The land route through Pakistan from India to Afghanistan is not accessible.

The project is also seen as a counter to Chinese Gwadar port in Pakistan.

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