18

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Kashmir: 70 years of disputes

17-07-2018

Kashmir, located between China, India and Pakistan, has been at the heart of a complex, 70-year dispute between Delhi and Islamabad, which has strained bilateral relations and impeded the development of stronger ties in the whole of South Asia. In the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, an uprising against Delhi's rule has been ongoing since 1989. In June 2018, a UN human rights report on Kashmir called for establishing a commission of inquiry into multiple violations from both sides. Kashmir is a ...

Kashmir, located between China, India and Pakistan, has been at the heart of a complex, 70-year dispute between Delhi and Islamabad, which has strained bilateral relations and impeded the development of stronger ties in the whole of South Asia. In the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, an uprising against Delhi's rule has been ongoing since 1989. In June 2018, a UN human rights report on Kashmir called for establishing a commission of inquiry into multiple violations from both sides. Kashmir is a mountainous area the size of Germany, in the north-west of the Indian subcontinent, home to K2, the world's second-tallest mountain, and also narrow valleys and barren plateaus. It is also prone to seismic activity: as recently as 2005, a strong earthquake is estimated to have claimed 75 000 lives.

Pakistan ahead of the 2018 elections

17-07-2018

Pakistan will hold general elections on 25 July 2018. This event deserves attention for several reasons. With around 200 million inhabitants, Pakistan has the sixth-largest population in the world. One of the world's nine nuclear powers, it is the only Muslim country among them. It is strategically located between India, China, Afghanistan and Iran. It plays a major role with regard to Afghanistan's stability and the fight against terrorism, for which it has often been accused of connivance with ...

Pakistan will hold general elections on 25 July 2018. This event deserves attention for several reasons. With around 200 million inhabitants, Pakistan has the sixth-largest population in the world. One of the world's nine nuclear powers, it is the only Muslim country among them. It is strategically located between India, China, Afghanistan and Iran. It plays a major role with regard to Afghanistan's stability and the fight against terrorism, for which it has often been accused of connivance with militant groups. Finally, it is home to the world's second-largest Muslim population. The election is set to secure the second consecutive democratic transition of power in a country marked by chronic dualism between political and military power. The event is particularly important, given the current political turmoil following the removal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office. Pakistan is accused of giving support to terrorist groups. However, after the Taliban massacred 132 children at an army-run school in 2014, the authorities adopted a number of provisions to curtail terrorism. Nevertheless, the US administration, which considers Pakistan one of its key allies in the Afghanistan war, is unsatisfied with its record of fighting terrorism. The resultant US freeze on military aid to Islamabad may force the latter to switch allegiance to China and Russia, which could jeopardise Washington's efforts in Afghanistan. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of infrastructure projects is an example of the already flourishing relations with Beijing. An EU election observation mission is monitoring the electoral process. Since 2014, Pakistan has benefitted from the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which has boosted the country's exports to the EU. A new EU-Pakistan strategic engagement plan is to be signed in 2018. The European Parliament has expressed concern over the country's human rights situation on several occasions, with special reference to the persecution of religious minorities.

Labour rights in Export Processing Zones with a focus on GSP+ beneficiary countries

15-06-2017

The European Union’s GSP+ scheme provides trade concessions to beneficiary countries and obliges them to ratify and effectively implement key international conventions on human rights and labour rights. The sectoral gains of GSP+ have thus far been concentrated on exports of apparel, textiles and processed fish. Such sectors are often located in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) where the governance of labour rights may differ from the rest of the country and fall below international legal standards ...

The European Union’s GSP+ scheme provides trade concessions to beneficiary countries and obliges them to ratify and effectively implement key international conventions on human rights and labour rights. The sectoral gains of GSP+ have thus far been concentrated on exports of apparel, textiles and processed fish. Such sectors are often located in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) where the governance of labour rights may differ from the rest of the country and fall below international legal standards. This study examines the apparel sectors of Pakistan, Mongolia and Sri Lanka and the processed fish sector of the Philippines. The importance of EPZs to exports under the GSP+ varies by country and sector. Only in Pakistan are EPZs legally exempt from rights relating to freedom of association and collective bargaining. But restrictions on these and other rights in practice remain widespread, and are not confined to EPZs. Efforts to promote labour rights through the GSP+ should focus on key export sectors benefitting from the scheme and consider EPZs alongside other sites of the supply chain where exploited workers are based.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): State of play

11-04-2016

Despite hopes to the contrary, nuclear weapons are making a comeback in the strategic planning of nuclear-armed states. The decline in nuclear arsenals worldwide is accompanied by investment in more modern nuclear weapons and delivery systems, stepping further away from the disarmament pledges the nuclear weapon states assumed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and challenging the foundations of the Treaty. Adding to the risk of undermining the NPT's relevance and credibility are the ...

Despite hopes to the contrary, nuclear weapons are making a comeback in the strategic planning of nuclear-armed states. The decline in nuclear arsenals worldwide is accompanied by investment in more modern nuclear weapons and delivery systems, stepping further away from the disarmament pledges the nuclear weapon states assumed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and challenging the foundations of the Treaty. Adding to the risk of undermining the NPT's relevance and credibility are the nuclear-armed states outside the NPT which are not bound by key international non-proliferation and disarmament obligations. The NPT Review Conference in 2015 addressed the states parties' effective implementation of their commitments under the NPT, as well as the enormous challenges ahead. Although the conference ended in failure to agree a consensus on an outcome document, the increased adherence to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons initiative is believed to provide those states which are interested with a way forward towards pursuing the NPT goal of a nuclear-free world.

Violence and persecution levelled at Christians around the world

30-11-2015

In 2050, Christianity will still be the religion with the most adherents worldwide, with a following outnumbering that of Islam, although the latter will not be far behind it numerically. However, this forecast should not be allowed to obscure the fact that Christianity remains very diverse, being divided into Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant branches, and that demographic trends are different for each of them. Despite the fact that Christianity remains the most widely practised religion, Christians ...

In 2050, Christianity will still be the religion with the most adherents worldwide, with a following outnumbering that of Islam, although the latter will not be far behind it numerically. However, this forecast should not be allowed to obscure the fact that Christianity remains very diverse, being divided into Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant branches, and that demographic trends are different for each of them. Despite the fact that Christianity remains the most widely practised religion, Christians are in the minority in many regions of the world, where various communities suffer discrimination and even serious human rights violations. Those responsible may be the state, other social groups or a combination of the two. In this context, the United Nations has recently taken up the cudgels to defend these oppressed minority communities, and the European Parliament has adopted a growing number of resolutions on the subject. This briefing has been published further to a request in connection with a conference organised by Parliament in the framework of Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

India's bilateral relations: First year of the Narendra Modi era

17-07-2015

'Build a strong, self-reliant and self-confident India': that was the 2014 electoral promise of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has not wasted time, and has immediately started to work on relations with New Delhi's immediate neighbours and with the south-eastern partners through the new 'Act East' policy. Major powers have showed a renewed interest in India. But while relations with Washington and other Western countries are promising, this has not come at the detriment of New Delhi's ...

'Build a strong, self-reliant and self-confident India': that was the 2014 electoral promise of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has not wasted time, and has immediately started to work on relations with New Delhi's immediate neighbours and with the south-eastern partners through the new 'Act East' policy. Major powers have showed a renewed interest in India. But while relations with Washington and other Western countries are promising, this has not come at the detriment of New Delhi's traditional ties with Moscow. A mix of mutual interest and competitiveness characterises relations with China. All this demonstrates how India's foreign policy is guided by the pragmatism necessary to gain global status. Now that Prime Minister Modi has gained trust at international level, his next challenge is to overcome internal resistance to the required major economic reforms to make India a global manufacturing hub.

China’s Foreign Policy and External Relations

07-07-2015

This study provides an overview of China’s current approach to foreign policy and external relations. It focuses more particularly on the role and actions of China in global governance, its territorial claims and relations with countries in Asia, and its emergence as an important actor in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. It assesses the implications for the EU and makes recommendations on how the EU should deepen its strategic partnership with China. The study ...

This study provides an overview of China’s current approach to foreign policy and external relations. It focuses more particularly on the role and actions of China in global governance, its territorial claims and relations with countries in Asia, and its emergence as an important actor in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. It assesses the implications for the EU and makes recommendations on how the EU should deepen its strategic partnership with China. The study argues that China has not made a unilateral and exclusive turn towards assertiveness in its foreign policy. China’s foreign policy assertiveness represents a policy choice that should be understood in the broader context of its external relations, which is one of uncertainty. Both the impact of China’s emergence in international affairs and the use China intends to make of its power and influence remain uncertain. This uncertainty is explained by the interdependence between a number of international and domestic factors as well as by the absence of a grand strategy. The uncertainty in China’s foreign policy opens avenues for the EU to influence China and further deepen the scope of the EU-China Strategic Partnership.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

26-06-2015

With China, Russia, and four Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – as its founding members, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is one of the world's biggest regional organisations in terms of population represented. To date, the SCO has largely concentrated on regional non-traditional security governance and specifically its fight against regional terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism. But the SCO Charter sets out a broad range of other ...

With China, Russia, and four Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – as its founding members, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is one of the world's biggest regional organisations in terms of population represented. To date, the SCO has largely concentrated on regional non-traditional security governance and specifically its fight against regional terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism. But the SCO Charter sets out a broad range of other objectives and areas of cooperation, which go far beyond security concerns and thus bear great potential for further regional integration. The SCO's main achievement thus far is to have offered its members a cooperative forum to balance their conflicting interests and to ease bilateral tensions. It has built up joint capabilities and has agreed on common approaches in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism. However, major shortcomings, such as institutional weaknesses, a lack of common financial funds for the implementation of joint projects and conflicting national interests have prevented the SCO from achieving a higher level of regional cooperation in other areas. A first expansion in SCO membership – expected for July 2015 – driven by new security threats, geostrategic considerations, energy security and the economic interests of current SCO members, is likely both to raise the SCO's regional and international profile and present new challenges.

Pakistan and China: 'Iron Brothers' Forever?

18-06-2015

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of China have enjoyed long-lasting and friendly ties – despite their ideological differences, evident in their very names. The two share far more than a 520 kilometre border, as underscored by the April 2015 visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan. On that trip – his first trip abroad in 2015 – Xi announced a EUR 41.30-billion commitment to building a multi-faceted network called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The ...

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of China have enjoyed long-lasting and friendly ties – despite their ideological differences, evident in their very names. The two share far more than a 520 kilometre border, as underscored by the April 2015 visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan. On that trip – his first trip abroad in 2015 – Xi announced a EUR 41.30-billion commitment to building a multi-faceted network called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC can be understood as part of China's 'pivot to Asia' and plays a role in Beijing's broader 'One Belt One Road' initiative. If completed, the CPEC has the potential to fundamentally alter South Asia's economy and geopolitics.

Evaluation of the EU-India Strategic Partnership and the Potential for its Revitalisation

18-06-2015

The EU-India strategic partnership has lost momentum. Bilateral ties are not receiving sufficient priority from both sides. Economics remains at the core of this relationship. Since negotiations on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) may take time to be concluded, EU-India ties should not be held hostage to developments at BTIA level. On defence and security matters, India deals with EU Member States directly and has a good framework for cooperation with major European powers. The ...

The EU-India strategic partnership has lost momentum. Bilateral ties are not receiving sufficient priority from both sides. Economics remains at the core of this relationship. Since negotiations on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) may take time to be concluded, EU-India ties should not be held hostage to developments at BTIA level. On defence and security matters, India deals with EU Member States directly and has a good framework for cooperation with major European powers. The recent Indian decision to buy Rafale jets from France will also have long-term implications for EU-India links. Unlike its partnerships with the US and Russia, India has yet to discover the relevance of EU-India relations within evolving Asian security and economic architecture. Growing Indo-American relations and the close transatlantic partnership could provide new opportunities to work together. Collaboration in research and innovation has expanded significantly and dialogues on global governance, energy, counter-terrorism, migration and mobility as well as human rights all show great potential. New dialogues could be initiated on Afghanistan, maritime security, development cooperation and the Middle-East. Indian engagement in resolving the Ukraine crisis could be explored.

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