India-China Current Affairs - 2019

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FATF Plenary meet: Pakistan to be scrutinized

The six-day plenary meeting of FATF – Financial Action Task Force is to be held in Paris. It is a part of the FATF Week that is being celebrated between October 13 and October 18, 2019. The meeting is attended by representatives from 205 countries and jurisdictions all around the world. It includes IMF, UN, World Bank and other leading organizations. The meeting will focus on financial flows that are linked to terrorism and crime.

The China Factor in the Meet

It is the first Plenary meeting under the Presidency of China. Among the important factors to be discussed in the meet the progress by Pakistan, Iran and other countries that present risk to the financial system is highly crucial, especially for China. This is because, Pakistan being an all-weather ally of China, all eyes are to be focused on China.

In the June Plenary meet, Pakistan received 3 needed votes from China, Turkey and Malaysia. This prevented the country from entering the blacklist.

India, UK and USA want Pakistan to be included in FATF Black list while China and Turkey are against the move.

FATF on Pakistan

The countries are recommended to the blacklist category based on the Mutual Evaluation Report. According to the report published in 2019, of 10 effective ratings, Pakistan was found low in 9 areas.

In its money laundering report, 2019, FATF slammed Pakistan for its terror funding.

Plenary meet

The FATF plenary year begins in July and ends in June. Every year, the FATF holds three plenary meetings. They usually take place in October, June and February. This October the following discussions are to be made in the plenary meet

  • To assess if the countries are regulating virtual asset sector to prevent misuse of crime and terror
  • To assess Russia and Turkey measures to combat money laundering
  • To discuss the impact of “stable coins” on the supervision of virtual assets
  • Actions taken by Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, Spain and Saudi Arabia since their assessments
  • Developments in financing of Al – Qaeda, ISIL and Affiliates

FATF Blacklist

The FATF black list or the OECD black list is issued by the FATF since 2000. Such description is given to those countries that are non – cooperative in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The FATF is updated regularly.

Current South Korea and Iran are in the FATF Blacklist category.

FATF Grey list

The FATF Grey list comprises of those countries that have flaws in their financial regulation. The countries that are currently under FATF grey list are Bahamas, Botswana, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Pakistan, Panama, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trianidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen

Pakistan was added to the Grey list category in 2012 and later was removed from the list in 2015. However, in 2018 it was again added to the grey list category.

India relaxes e-visa rules for Chinese nationals

India has announced significant relaxations in its e-visa policy or rules for Chinese nationals. The announcement comes at a time when the leaders of the two nations Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping had met for the second informal summit, in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu.

The decision to offer multiple-entry 5-year visas is offered for a much longer duration than offered till now and meets a long-standing demand from China.

Relaxed e-visa rules for Chinese nationals

October 2019 onwards, the Chinese nationals can apply for an e-Tourist visa (e-TV) of 5-year validity with multiple entries.

The visa fee for this 5-year multiple entry e-TV will be $80. Moreover, the prospective tourists can avail of single-entry 30-day validity e-TV at a reduced visa fee of $25, while for a 30-day e-TV during months of April to June, the visa fee will be only $10.

The one-year multiple-entry e-TV will continue to be offered but at a reduced visa fee of $40.

Other relaxations– the existing e-conference visa, e-medical visa and 1-year multiple-entry e-business visa will continue to be issued from online platform of Indian visas.

Significance: This unilateral liberalisation of e-TV for Chinese nationals will enhance people-to-people exchanges between two nations. It will also encourage more Chinese tourists to choose India as a tourist destination.