Persian Gulf Current Affairs - 2019
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Iran’s Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a bill labelling U.S. forces in the Middle East as terrorist groups. This comes days after U.S. designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as terrorist organisation formally took effect.
The bill introduced by the Iranian Defence Minister has authorised the government to act firmly in response to “terrorist actions” by US forces and demands authorities use of legal, political and diplomatic measures to neutralise the American move, without elaborating.
Since the bill did not elaborate on the measures Iran would take, it remains unclear how the bill’s passage in parliament would affect the Gourd’s activities in the Persian Gulf, where the U.S. Navy has in the past accused Iranian patrol boats of harassing American warships.
The Revolutionary Guard’s designation as a terrorist group by the US was the first-ever designation for an entire division of another government. Some hard-liner lawmakers of Iran had demanded listing of the entire U.S. Army and security forces as terrorist organisations.
India has joined Ashgabat Agreement which envisages facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf to significantly boost up trade and investment. It was informed by Turkmenistan, as depository state of the Agreement that all its four founding members have consented to accession of India.
Ashgabat Agreement aims at establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor between the Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It was signed in April 2011 and is named after capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat. It establishes international transport and transit corridor between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf countries. Pakistan is also its member since October 2016.
Significance of accession to Agreement
- It will enable India to utilise this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction and ties with Central Asia and Eurasian region.
- It will synchronise India’s efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity.
- It will provide India an opportunity for reorientation of the freight traffic from the traditional sea route to land transcontinental routes.
India had deposited the Instrument of Accession with Turkmenistan in April 2016. Prior to it, the Union Cabinet had given its approval for India to accede to Ashgabat Agreement in March 2016.