India and Portugal
India and Portugal have signed a protocol of cooperation in the field of archives. The agreement has been signed between the National Archives of India and the Ministry of Culture of the Portuguese Republic in Lisbon, Portugal.
As a part of the Cooperation, the Torre do Tombo (National Archives of Portugal) has handed over digital copies of 62 volumes of the collection known as ‘Moncoes do Reino’ (Monsoon correspondence) to the National Archives of India.
These volumes were originally part of over 456 volumes which is the largest of all record collections in the Goa State Archives.The collection consists of direct correspondence from Lisbon to Goa and covers the period from 1568 to 1914.
At Lisbon, these volumes were subsequently got printed under the title ‘Documentos Remetidos da India’(Documents sent from India) by the Academy of Science at Lisbon between 1880 and 1893. Since then the original volumes had remained in Lisbon.
After a gap of 240 years, Director General of Books, Archives and Libraries has handed over a set of digital images of the missing volumes of the Moncoes do Reino series to India.
From 1505 to 1961, some territories of India remained under Portuguese State of India (Estado da India) or Portuguese India (Índia Portuguesa). The Indian empire of Portuguese was mainly confined in isolated colonies in both East and West Coast of India and was part of Portuguese possessions in Asia, East Africa and Pacific.
India to Skip OBOR summit in China
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a 3000 km project connecting Pakistan’s deep-water port Gwadar and China’s Xinjiang falls under the OBOR initiative of China. The CPEC passes through Gilgit-Baltistan region of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
The Chinese presence in the disputed region has raised sovereignty concerns for India. The Gwadar Port offers China to have its naval presence in the Arabian Sea and to the Indian Ocean. Already, China has plans to station its marines in Djibouti in Horn of Africa in Indian Ocean. The other projects under the OBOR in South and South East Asia also have security implications for India.Unlike India, none of the other countries have sovereignty related issues with OBOR initiative.
North Korea’s Missile Development Programme
Chronology of North Korea’s Missile Development Programme
Late 1970s: North Korea begins working on a version of the Soviet Scud-B having a range of 300 km. The missile was test fired in 1984.
1999: In order to improve its ties with US, North Korea declares moratorium on long-range missile tests.
2000: Fifth round of US-North Korean missile talks ended without reaching any significant agreement as US rejects North Korea’s demand of being paid $1 billion a year in return for halting missile exports.
2005: North Korea ends moratorium on long-range missile tests.
2006: North Korea conducted its first underground nuclear test
2009: North Korea conducted its second underground nuclear test.
2012: North Korea successfully placed an Earth observational satellite in orbit.
2013: North Korea Conducted its third underground nuclear test
January 2016: North conducted its fourth underground nuclear test. It claimed that test involved a hydrogen bomb, a claim which is doubted by many experts.
March 2016: North Korea claimed that it has successfully miniaturised a thermo-nuclear warhead.
April 2016: North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile
September 2016: North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test
October 2016: North Korea test fired an intermediate-range Musudan missile which is theoretically capable of reaching US bases on Guam. The test was considered as a failure after the missile exploded shortly after its launch.
March 2017: North Korea tested a new rocket engine
April 2017: North Korea fires a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan which was an extended-range Scud missile. It also staged few more failed missile tests in April.
May 2, 2017: THAAD anti-missile system becomes operational in South Korea
May 14, 2017: North test fired a ballistic missile. The missile flew 700 km and reached an altitude of more than 2,000 km dropping into the sea between North Korea’s east coast and Japan.
China, ASEAN Countries Agree on Framework for South China Sea Code of Conduct
China and the ASEAN members had committed to sign a code of conduct around 15 years ago. But the pace of the negotiations was slow as China claimed the South China in its entirety. ASEAN members like Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei also maintain claims in the South China Sea.
In the absence of the code of conduct, each country followed a separate document called the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which has a provision committing parties to explore ways to build trust and confidence based on the principles of equality and mutual respect. Last year, China was enraged by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Hague, the Netherlands, which in its ruling has rejected China’s claims to economic rights across large swathes of South China Sea in a case brought by the Philippines.
10 ASEAN Members: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
South China Sea
South China Sea is part of Pacific Ocean spreading an area of some 35 lakh square km with eight littoral countries / territories viz. China, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam.
It is strategically located in the international shipping route that sees the passage of world’s half of the merchant ships. The sea is rich in energy reserves including petroleum, mineral and fishing resources. It is made of some 200 tiny islands, coral reefs, shoals, sandbanks etc. grouped into three archipelagos of Spratlys, Paracels and Pratas.
The Macclesfield Bank and Scarborough Shoal are also part of South China Sea. Several countries have made competing territorial claims over the South China Sea. Such disputes have been regarded as Asia’s most potentially dangerous point of conflict.