Indo-Pacific Current Affairs - 2020

India to hold first ever virtual bilateral summit with Australia

On June 4, 2020, PM Modi will hold a virtual bilateral summit with the Australian PM Scott Morrison. This is the first ever virtual bilateral summit to be held by India.

Highlights

The leaders are to discuss a broad framework on the relation of India and Australia. The leaders will also sign several agreements. The major agreement is the one to be signed on mutual sharing of military logistics facilities. The agreement will help increase the bandwidth of operation of both the Australian and Indian forces in the Indo Pacific region.

The leaders will also discuss boosting science and technology, COVID-19 crisis, cybersecurity, maritime issues in the Indo Pacific Region and also about other critical technologies.

The leaders will also share how their respective countries are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia has held similar summit with Singapore earlier.

India-Australia

India and Australia held their first bilateral naval exercise in 2015. The exercise was called AUSINDEX. Also, the countries hold bilateral army exercises called AUSTRAHIND.

India is to become a non-permanent member at the United Nations Security Council. Australia has backed India becoming a member at the UNSC. Australis also supported the United Nations Resolution to declare Azhar Masood a global terrorist.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation: Economic Decline of 2.7% expected in the region

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation has stated that the APEC region is to face an economic decline of 2.7% in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. Also, the region is to face near growth rate. This will be the highest decline for the region since the 2008 financial crisis.

Highlights

The unemployment rate according to the report of APEC was 3.8% in 2019 and it is to increase to 5.4% in 2020. The region is also expected to face an economic rebound in the year 2021. The anticipated growth of the region in the 2021 is 6.3%.

APEC

APEC comprises of Vietnam, US, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, Philippines, Peru, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Mexico, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Chile, Canada, Brunei and Australia.

It was begun in 1989. The forum was formed to leverage the growing inter dependence of the countries in the region of Asia-Pacific. The region has now been renamed as Indo-Pacific.

The three major observers of APEC include ASEAN, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and Pacific Islands Forum.

India and APEC

India is not a member of APEC. For the first time, India was invited to be an observer in the association in 2011. India has requested for membership in APEC and had received the support from Japan, US, Papua New Guinea and Australia. There are constraints faced by India to join APEC as India does not border Pacific Ocean.