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  • Affiliation : Vice President, Observer Research Foundation
  • Position : Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation
  • Affiliation : Embassy of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation
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International Security Index iSi increased to 2799 points. Unnikrishnan, Jayatilleka comment events of the week.

26.08.2014

MOSCOW, AUGUST 26, 2014. PIR PRESS “India has recently blocked the WTO agreement on trade facilitation. The position of New Delhi is primarily shaped by the issue of subsidies for food production. India has adopted a so-called Right to Food act. In accordance with the law, the government must provide the Indian poor with a minimum amount of food. The norms of the WTO suggest that India should abandon the food subsidies. However, the country cannot do this not only for economic but also for political reasons. Abolishing this law in the near future would be a political suicide for any government”, – Vice President, Observer Research Foundation Nandan Unnikrishnan

The new weekly International Security Index iSi was published in Kommersant newspaper (in Russian).

During the week of August 18 - 26, 2014, the International Security Index iSi increased to 2799 points. The operation for elimination of Syrian chemical weapons was completed. Israel and the Hamas militants resumed rocket exchange after the collapse of the truce. In Iraq, took place fighting between the Kurds and the militants of the Islamic State for the strategically important dam on the Tigris River. Syrian Air Force launched a series of air strikes against bases of the Islamists in the city of Raqqa. In Libya, the airspace was closed for civilian aircraft due to continued clashes between the army and rebel groups. In Pakistan, the opposition intensified the demonstrations demanding the resignation of the government of Nawaz Sharif. In the Donetsk region of the Ukraine, the battles for the city of Ilovajsk continued; Russian convoy with humanitarian aid arrived in Lugansk. In Chile, students rally with demand of reforms in education broke into riots. In the American city of Ferguson, clashes between local residents and police erupted after the murder of an African American.

Comments on the week's events by members of the International Expert Group of the PIR Center

Nandan Unnikrishnan, Vice President, Observer Research Foundation – by phone from Delhi: India has blocked the WTO agreement on trade facilitation. The position of New Delhi is primarily shaped by the issue of subsidies for food production. India has adopted a so-called Right to Food act. In accordance with the law, the government must provide the Indian poor with a minimum amount of food. The norms of the WTO suggest that India should abandon the food subsidies. However, the country cannot do this not only for economic but also for political reasons. Abolishing this law in the near future would be a political suicide for any government. It is important to work on this issue, however it will take time.

There is another reason for India's position on the WTO agreements. Many countries - WTO members – are at the same time participants of various organizations and blocks. For example, there is Trans-Pacific Partnership, the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Trade and Economic partnership between the United States, Japan and South Korea. All these organizations are developing fast and sometimes their rules contradict standards and rules of WTO. India does not go away from those issues and try to understand and discusses them during the WTO meetings. After all, we are talking about a meaningful agreement on trade facilitation in framework of the WTO. On this basis, it is important to consider it in conjunction with the whole range of these issues.

Security situation in South Asia in the autumn of 2014 will depend mostly on how the situation in Afghanistan will be resolved and who the new president of the country will be. In India, we observe the development of the situation in Afghanistan with great attention. No one makes any predictions about who will take the presidency, however South Asian states have to build a relationship with any government in Afghanistan.

Dayan Jayatilleka (Sri Lanka), Ambassador, former Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Colombo – by e-mail from Colombo: Clearly, the global security situation has deteriorated dramatically. The Israeli attack on Gaza, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) offensive in Iraq and Syria, the reassertion of Kurdish independence sentiment, the offensive by the Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine, the US airstrikes on ISIS, the Cold War atmosphere in US/Western policy towards Russia, have all generated instability in the global and in several regional theatres.

The political instability in Pakistan and the threat to the new, democratic administration of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have had adverse effects on the prospect of further rapprochement between that country and India.  

The growing cordiality in the relationship between the two Asian giants India and China, and the reassertion of the BRICS as manifested in the decision to launch a new development bank, have been the most important positive factors. 

The situation is likely to change for the worse, with the main negatives being the deterioration in US-Russian relations, a non-peaceful outcome in Eastern Ukraine, and the advance of ISIS-ISIL.  Currently the only positive potentialities are the US-Iran talks and the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Cairo.

For all the questions concerning the International Security Index please contact Galiya Ibragimova by e-mail ibragimova at pircenter.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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