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1. General Data Protection Guidelines (Gdpr)

What is GDPR?

  • It is comprehensive privacy and data security legislation by the EU, to protect personal data of its people (residents and citizens, called as data subjects, in the Regulation) and to help them control how this data is collected, processed, shared and stored.

  • It mandates companies (called as data controllers and processors) to take “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous” consent from the data subjects, regarding movement and use of this data. Thus, GDPR also regulates exportation of this data outside the EU.

  • Further, ‘record’ of consent is required to be maintained under the new regime.

1.1. More about GDPR

  • It creates European Data Protection Board (EDPB), along with member states’ Data Protection Authorities (DPA), to regulate and implement GDPR and resolve disputes. It also requires firms to appoint Data Protection Officers (DPO) wherever applicable.

  • Data protection principles: Personal data should be processed as per following six principles: o Processed lawfully, fairly and transparently

  • Collected only for specific legitimate purposes

  • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary

  • Must be accurate and kept up to date

  • Stored only as long as is necessary

  • Ensure appropriate security, integrity and confidentiality

  • Governance and accountability: It requires maintenance and enforcement of internal data protection policies and procedures, along with documentation of data breach and investigations. Data protection impact assessments (DPIAs) are a must for high-risk processing operations.

  • Data protection “by design” and “by default”: This means that the design of future business operations and management workflows relating to data should be GDPR-compliant; and default collection mode must be to gather only the personal data that is necessary for a specific purpose. Data storage must use highest-possible privacy settings by default and should use pseudonymisation or anonymization.

  • Right to erasure of personal data: GDPR requires organizations to completely erase data from all repositories when:

  • (i) data subjects revoke their consent;

  • (ii) partner organization requests data deletion, or

  • (iii) service or agreement comes to an end. However, data can be retained for certain legal reasons as per few exceptions; it also provides for right to be forgotten, right to rectify data, right to data portability, etc.

  • Companies are required to report the data breach within 72 hours to the nominated national DPA. These breaches must be disclosed to the individuals as well.

  • Exemptions/ restrictions: Following cases are not covered by the regulation:

  • o Lawful interception, national security, military, police, justice

  • o Statistical and scientific analysis

  • o Deceased persons, subject to national legislation

  • o Employer-employee relationships (covered as per a separate law)

  • o Processing of personal data by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity

  • o Conversely, an entity has to be engaged in "economic activity" (as per EU laws) to fall under GDPR.

  • Firms based outside the EU, that provide services or goods to the EU are also subject to the GDPR. These companies may need to appoint a representative in the EU.

  • It includes a separate Data Protection Directive for the police and criminal justice sector that provides rules on personal data exchanges at national, European, and international levels.

  • Failure to comply invites penalties as huge as €20m or up to 4% of global annual revenues.

  • It emphasizes on simplification of information and processes so that public can comprehend these and take actions with ease.

  • ePrivacy Regulation for online data activities, are yet to be finalised by the EU.

1.2. Implications for India and beyond

  • It impacts work practices of technology sector, online retailers, software companies, financial services, online services/SaaS, retail/consumer packaged goods, B2B marketing etc.

  • For Indian firms: Europe is a significant market for Indian IT/BPO/technology/pharma sectors and hence, GDPR compliance becomes priority for all Indian organisations having business there. o Challenges- According to an Ernst & Young study, only 13% of Indian companies are prepared for GDPR. These provisions would be a challenge for smaller firms and young start-ups demanding huge costs of compliance or otherwise loss of business.

  • Opportunity- At the same time, there is an opportunity for new consultancy and advisory firms to set up their operations and help other firms with GDPR compliance across the world. Also, compliance can be turned into a competitive advantage vis-à-vis other Asian firms.

  • India and the EU relations: o One of the routes to transfer personal data outside the EU is when the EU has designated a country as providing an adequate level of data protection. Given that the EU has not accorded ‘data secure country’ status to India, operations between Indian and Europeans firms may get difficult. This also has implications for India-EU BTIA (Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement).

  • GDPR provides that a legal order/judgement by a third country asking action on part of data controller/processor may not be recognized in absence of an international agreement such as the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). This is of concern since Germany refused to sign MLAT with India in 2015, citing its objections to India’s death penalty provisions.

  • Blockchain technologies: Decentralized nature of these technologies can help protect personal data better. Simultaneously, anonymity offered by crypto-currencies based on these technologies may contradict the compliance norms under the GDPR.

  • For consumers world over: They will demand better laws to protect their data via campaigns against bad practices of other governments and companies that harvest on personal data without consent, thus violating Right to privacy.

2. India-US Pacts


  • Three proposed defense foundational agreements between the United States and India—the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (earlier referred to as CISMOA), and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Intelligence—have been in negotiations for years.

  • So far, India has signed only LEMOA. While efforts to conclude remaining two pacts are being renegotiated recently.

Why India should sign these agreements?

  • Each of these agreements expands U.S.-India defense cooperation in a fairly modest manner, without necessitating a revolution in either side’s approach to the partnership.

  • COMCASA creates the conditions for the Indian military to receive modern, secure and net-enabled weapons systems such as precision armament, air-to-air missiles, space systems and navigation systems that are critical components in platforms like fighter aircraft and unmanned aerial systems. Hitherto India has had to purchase more expensive commercial communications equipment, raising the overall acquisition price of a platform.

  • The absence of COMCASA and BECA agreements has affected the functionality of U.S. platforms sold to India (such as P-8I aircraft) and limits interoperability and data sharing between their militaries.

  • Apart from this, these agreements are largely about building a foundation of trust.

Why India has not signed these agreements?

Strategic Concerns

  • These agreements pave the way for a military alliance and force India to compromise its strategic autonomy.

  • It may antagonize China, leaving India in a disadvantageous position vis-a-vis its border disputes with Beijing.

  • It can jeopardize historically close security relationship with Russia and ongoing projects. Also, the agreement will make it difficult to integrate India's Russian origin weapon systems on US Platform.

Operational Concerns

  • Implementation of the COMCASA-

  • Could reveal locations of Indian military assets to Pakistan or other countries. Further, the use of American C4ISR systems could compromise India’s tactical operational security, enabling the US to keep track of Indian warships and aircraft as the coding and keying systems will be the same.

  • Would be too burdensome for the Indian military, given U.S. procedures.

  • There is no clear need for these agreements, given the recent ascendancy of bilateral defense cooperation and the use of workaround agreements, such as the recently renewed Fuel Exchange Agreement.

3. Track-Ii Diplomacy

3.1. More on News

  • One of the oldest Track-II initiatives (referred as Neemrana dialogue) between India and Pakistan and was first held in 1991-92, in Neemrana Fort (Rajasthan).

  • Current meeting was held from April 28th to April 30th, 2018,

3.2. Track I Diplomacy

  • Track One Diplomacy is official government diplomacy whereby communication and interaction is between governments. in Islamabad and the two sides discussed issues related to Kashmir, Siachen, terrorism, cross-border firing, Sir Creek and also Afghanistan but both sides did not make any official statements on the event.

  • Last such Track-II dialogue between India-Pakistan was held three years back on 10th July 2015, on the side-lines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Ufa, Russia.

3.3. About Track II Diplomacy

  • It is also known as Backchannel Diplomacy, in which private individuals (such as former diplomats, military veterans, academicians etc.), meeting unofficially, can find their way to common ground that official negotiators can’t and the talks under it are not codified as official statements.

  • Strengths of Track II Diplomacy

  • o Track Two parties are not subdued by political or constitutional power; therefore, they can express their own viewpoints on various issues.

  • o It involves grassroots and middle leadership who are in direct contact with the conflict.

  • o This diplomacy is not affected by electoral cycles.

  • Weaknesses of Track II Diplomacy

  • o Its participants have limited ability to influence foreign policy and political power structures because of their lack of political influence.

  • o Track Two interventions can take too long to yield results.

  • o It has limited ability to influence change at the war stage of a conflict.

  • o Its participants rarely have resources necessary for sustained leverage during negotiations and for the implementation of agreements.

4. Kishenganga Project

4.1 Indus Water Treaty

  • The treaty was signed in 1960 by India and Pakistan

  • As per the treaty, control over three eastern rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej was given to India. While control over three western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab was given to Pakistan.

  • It allows India to use only 20% of the water of Indus River, for irrigation, power generation and transport.

  • PM recently inaugurated the state run NHPC Ltd’s Kishanganga hydro power project in Jammu and Kashmir.

4.2. More about the news

  • It is a 330 megawatt Run of the River Hydroelectric power project located in Gurez valley of Bandipora district in north Kashmir.

  • It envisages diversion of water from the Kishenganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin through an underground tunnel and the discharge of the water into the Wular lake.

  • The project began in 2009 but in 2010 Pakistan appealed to Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration complaining that the project violated the Indus River Treaty and deprived Pakistan the water share to its power project which is under construction at Neelam valley in PoK, as the Kishanganga river flows into Pakistan.

  • Pakistan is constructing its own 1,000 megawatts Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project with the assistance of China on its side of the river.

  • Court of Arbitration ordered India to submit technical data of the project and allowed India to go ahead with the construction of the dam while maintaining minimum 9 cubic metres of flow of water across border.

  • 12 per cent of the power generated from Kishanganga project will be given to the J&K as “royalty”, apart from an extra 1 per cent for “local development”, while the rest will go into the national grid.

4.3. Significance of Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project

  • It is expected to give boost to the development of the region.

  • It is an assertion by India over the territory of J&K and over its resources.

  • The project has a great strategic value due to India’s assertion of its rights under the Indus Waters Treaty.

5. India Protests Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan Order

What is the dispute over Gilgit-Baltistan?

  • After the first Indo-Pak war over Kashmir, the UN resolutions created a temporary ceasefire line separating the state into Indian and Pakistani administered regions pending a referendum.

  • India, Pakistan and China all claim partial or complete ownership of Kashmir.

  • India-controlled: One state, called Jammu and Kashmir, makes up the southern and eastern portions of the region, totaling about 45% of Kashmir.

  • Pakistan-controlled: Three areas called Azad Kashmir(AJK), Gilgit and Baltistan make up the northern and western portions of the region, totaling about 35% of Kashmir.

  • China-controlled: One area called Aksai Chin in the north-eastern part of the region, equalling 20% of Kashmir.

  • Hitherto Pakistan’s federal institutions had maintained that Gilgit-Baltistan is a UN declared disputed area and her residents cannot be declared citizens of Pakistan until India and Pakistan resolve the issue of accession of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • India, unlike Pakistan, claims Gilgit-Baltistan as a constitutional part of the country and declares the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as her citizens. In 1994, both houses of the Indian Parliament passed a unanimous resolution reiterating that Pakistani controlled parts of AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan are integral parts of India.


  • In 2009, Pakistan had passed a Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order in the Cabinet which granted self-rule to the people by creating a legislative assembly and a council but it did not provide for any constitutional means of linking it to Pakistan.

  • Now Pakistan’s Cabinet has approved to an executive order namely Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 to replace the above order and begin legislative, judicial and administrative measures to integrate Gilgit-Baltistan with the rest of the federal structure of Pakistan as its fifth province.

  • The order essentially seizes the powers of the region and entrusts Prime Minister of Pakistan with indisputable authorities vis-a-vis Gilgit- Baltistan.

  • As per the previous arrangement, Pakistan’s National Assembly received representation from five provinces — Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa thus excluding the Gilgit-Baltistan region which remained on the Pakistani side following the war of 1947 and was governed directly from Islamabad.

  • The idea of granting provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan has gained momentum since work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through the region, demanded greater coordination between the local and central-level leaders.

5.1. Significance of Gilgit Baltistan Order

  • The order also aims to alleviate China's concerns about the unsettled status of Gilgit-Baltistan considering China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through the disputed region.

  • The order has also spread discontent in pro Indian and some other sections of people of Gilgit-Baltistan which want an independent republic in accordance with UN resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir which require Pakistan to withdraw from Gilgit-Baltistan and transfer control to local powers.

  • Further such a measure also aims to hide the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom to the people residing in Pakistan occupied territories.

6. India-Indonesia

6.1. More about the visit

  • Both sides have agreed to elevate the bilateral relationship between the two countries to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

  • The need for "free, open, transparent, rule-based (UNCLOS), peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region" was emphasized.

  • A shared Vision on Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific was announced to harness the opportunities and the following was agreed to-

  • o Enhancing Trade and Investment Cooperation:

  • o Expanding cooperation in disaster risk management:

  • o Fostering tourism and cultural exchanges, etc.

  • A link will be established between Andaman Nicobar and Aceh to tap the economic potentials of both areas.

6.2. Significance of India- Indonesia relations

  • Securing sea lanes of communication- Strategic location of Indonesia at the transition of Indian and Pacific Ocean is very important to secure the major sea lanes of communication considering the South East Indian ocean is the hotbed of piracy and smuggling of people, arms, drugs and money; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and the movement of terrorists etc.

  • Strategic importance: Recently Indonesia agreed to give access to the strategic island of Sabang, close to the Malacca Strait for Indian investment. This would help India to become a net security provider in the Indian ocean region.

  • Countering China: China's increasing assertiveness in the region has required for greater cooperation among various players in the region.

  • India's Act East policy: Indonesia's support will bolster its Act East Policy as it is the largest country in southeast Asia both population wise and economically. Also, India’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) matched with Indonesia’s Global Maritime Fulcrum.

  • Trade and investment: In 2017, trade between the two countries was USD 18.13 billion. India and Indonesia have agreed to triple bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025. Both countries can play critical role towards promotion of blue economy and fast tracking RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership).

  • Countering terrorism: Both the countries face threats of increasing religion-based terrorism. Thus, both the Country had agreed to establish interfaith dialogues to address this issue.

6.3. Challenges in India Indonesia relations

  • Strong presence of China in the region: Indonesia has friendship treaty with China of cold war time, hence it would not go to an extent which could concern China even after comprehensive strategic partnership.

  • Cold war era hostility: After independence India had good relations with Indonesia as both the countries were founder of Non-alignment movement, however it deteriorated later as India tilted towards USSR and Indonesia towards USA. During Indian's war with Pakistan, Indonesia had supported Pakistan.

  • Demarcation of maritime border between the two countries in the Andaman sea has not been completed. However, during the visit, both have reiterated to settle it soon

  • Poor Connectivity: The potential of India Indonesia relations has been unrealized due to poor connectivity. The direct air connectivity was launched only recently.

Way forward

  • India and Indonesia can provide complementary models for coexistence of religious minorities with majoritarian communities in Asia based on their own tradition of coexistence. The interfaith dialogue forum should be promoted for it.

  • India can strengthen Indonesia's democratic credentials by advocating its admission in a revived India-Brazil-South Africa forum.

  • India may also invite Indonesia in the Quadrilateral security dialogue which includes Japan, USA and Australia, which focuses on the security aspects in the Indo-Pacific region.

7. Iran Nuclear Deal


  • The Iran deal, also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is an agreement reached in 2015 between Iran and six world countries - US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, plus the EU (i.e. P5+Germany+EU).

  • Under the agreement Iran agreed to completely eliminate its stock of medium enriched uranium, reduce the stock of low enriched uranium by 98% and reduce almost by 2/3rd its gas centrifuges for 13 years.

  • It further sets out rigorous mechanisms for monitoring restrictions placed on Iran’s nuclear programme.

  • Until 2031, Iran will have to comply with any IAEA access request. If it refuses, the commission can decide on punitive steps, including the re-imposition of sanctions through a majority vote.

  • The reason sighted by the USA for withdrawal is that the deal does not target- Iran’s ballistic missile programme, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 and its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

  • In current scenario, the nuclear deal itself won’t be scrapped as long as Iran and the other signatories remain committed to it.

7.1. Likely effects of withdrawal on the world

  • One of the biggest concern is a likely rise in oil prices which could further lead to volatility in financial markets.

  • 37% of Iranian oil reaches European destinations. The trade relations have expanded several folds after JCPOA. Exiting the agreement would tarnish Washington’s credibility in the world especially with European countries and can weaken the NATO alliance.

  • This would render life very difficult for the populace who might, in the absence of other avenues, take to the streets against the regime.

7.2 Impact of decision on India

  • Chabahar Port- This will impact the work on the project which is crucial for India in terms of better connectivity with Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries.

  • Bilateral trade in oil- During previous sanctions, USA pressed Delhi to curtail its economic relations with Iran, specifically in the area of purchasing oil. Iran is presently India’s third biggest supplier (after Iraq and Saudi Arabia), and any increase in prices will hit both inflation levels as well as the Indian rupee.

  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation- Iran’s inclusion in the SCO as proposed by China may position it as an anti-American group which may further impact Indo-US relations.

  • International North-South Transport Corridor (a ship, rail, road route between India and Central Asia, passing through Iran), is crucial for connecting India with Central Asia and Russia. New U.S. sanctions will affect these plans, especially if any of the countries along the route or banking and insurance companies dealing with the INSTC plan also decide to adhere to U.S. restrictions on trade with Iran.

  • NSG- Like France (EU), USA is also a strong backer of India's NSG membership. India's commitment towards JCPOA may complicate the matter as US might push India for support.

  • Non-oil trade with Iran may not be impacted as much, as New Delhi and Tehran have instituted several measures in the past few months, including allowing Indian investment in rupees, and initiating new banking channels, between them.

  • USA recently withdrew from various other forums like the U.N. Climate Change treaty (Paris Accord), and the Trans-Pacific Partnership with East Asian trading partners. Such behavior essentially means that India must handle its relations with USA a bit more strategically, as India believes in Rule based Order.


8.1 Background

  • Burkina Faso followed suit of Sao Tome, Panama and Dominican Republic of severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan to keep up with evolution of the world and the socio-economic challenges of their country and region.

  • Taiwan now has only one diplomatic ally left in Africa — the kingdom of Swaziland — and has official relations with just 18 countries worldwide, many of them poor nations in Central America and the Pacific.

  • The move is yet another victory for Beijing in its campaign to isolate the island.

8.2. China-Taiwan Relations

  • China and Taiwan split in 1949 after a civil war won by the Chinese Communists. The two sides often use economic support and other aid to bargain for diplomatic recognition.

  • Taiwan continues to be Beijing’s most sensitive territorial issue and is claimed by China as its own province under ‘One China Principle”, with no right to state-to-state relations.

What is the ‘One China’ principle?

  • It is a Chinese principle meaning- There is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. The government of People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China.

  • The principle affirms Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan and is the cornerstone of bilateral diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing.

  • Any country that wants to establish political and diplomatic relations with China must agree to adhere to this principle and not recognize Taiwan as an independent country.

  • In practice, the principle is a stabilization mechanism that preserves the status quo over Taiwan’s political status while allowing it to function as an independent economic, civic and administrative entity.

  • Since 1979, Taiwan has had to negotiate its ‘international living space’ but it has largely honoured the ‘One China’ principle.

What is One-China policy?

  • It is fundamentally U.S. policy (or say countries that adhere to it) acknowledging that China has made certain claims over Taiwan, but that the U.S. does not recognize Chinese claim of sovereignty over Taiwan. (However, China does not differentiate between the policy and the principle.)

  • India has also followed the “One China Policy” for decades, and places restrictions on the official-level exchanges with Taipei.

9. Colombia To Join Nato

9.1. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

  • It is also called as the North Atlantic Alliance, an intergovernmental military alliance between three United Nations Security Council (United States, France and United Kingdom) permanent members and 26 other North American and European countries.

  • The alliance was established by the North Atlantic Treaty 1949.

  • It constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

  • Its Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium.

9.2. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

  • It aims to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

  • It has 35 members which include many of the world’s most advanced countries but also emerging countries like Mexico, Chile and Turkey.

  • India is not a member of this.


9.3. More about the news

  • Colombia has become the only Latin American nation in the NATO alliance.

  • It will be given the status of “Partner across the globe” in the group.

  • Being a global partner Colombia need not necessarily have to take part in military action and yet will be fully accredited as a member in NATO.


Who are the “Partners across the globe”?

  • NATO cooperates with a range of countries which are not part of formal group. They are often referred to as "Partners across the globe" or simply “Global Partners”

  • These countries develop cooperation with NATO in areas of mutual interest, including emerging security challenges, and some contribute actively to NATO operations either militarily or in some other way.

  • Other countries in the alliance with status of "partners across the globe” are Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan.

May International Relations

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