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Headline News 02/04/2021


  • Egypt and Sudan in War Games after El Sisi’s Stern Warning to Ethiopia
  • Pakistan Responds to US Climate Summit Snub with Commitment to Environment
  • India Should Not Seek Closer Ties with US at Expense of Relationship with China


Egypt and Sudan in War Games after El Sisi’s Stern Warning to Ethiopia

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Tuesday said that denying his country “a drop of water” would cause “unimaginable instability" in the region. That was his sternest threat yet to Addis Ababa over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt fears the dam will deeply cut its share of the Nile’s water. With a population of about 100 million, Egypt depends on the Nile for more than 90 per cent of its freshwater needs. Egypt and fellow downstream nation Sudan have tried for years to persuade Ethiopia to enter a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam. Since late last year Sudan and Ethiopia have been tangled in a border dispute that led to deadly clashes. Ethiopia maintains that guidelines about the dam, rather than a binding deal, should suffice. It said it planned to proceed with a second and much larger filling of the dam's reservoir in summer, regardless of whether an agreement was reached. “We don’t talk much but I need to tell everyone that no one can take a drop of water from Egypt,” Mr El Sisi said in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia.  "If anyone wants to try, let him try. But we are not threatening anyone and our discourse remains very patient and very wise, but no one can take a drop of water from Egypt. "Doing so will create unimaginable instability in the region and no one should assume that he is beyond the reach of our capabilities. “I say it again, Egypt’s water cannot be touched. Touching it is a red line and our reaction if it’s touched will impact on the entire region.” [Source: The National]

The tiff over water between Ethiopia and Egypt goes to show that water wars will soon take place not just in Africa but across the world.

Pakistan Responds to US Climate Summit Snub with Commitment to Environment

Disappointed at not being invited to the upcoming US climate summit, Pakistani officials said the country remains “fully committed” to addressing climate change and its green initiatives have been “well accepted and appreciated around the world.” Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson said the US climate change summit “brings together leaders from countries responsible for approximately 80 per cent of global emissions” while noting that “Pakistan is one of the lowest emitters with less than one per cent of the global emissions” despite being one of the most affected countries by climate change. Islamabad’s response came after social media rebuke as the US President Joe Biden administration ignored Pakistan at the Leaders Summit on Climate (April 22-23) in which the Biden invited 40 world leaders after the US rejoined the Paris climate accord which former US President Trump abruptly withdrew from. “Pakistan’s landmark initiatives like the Billion Tree Tsunami have won international acclaim, including from the World Economic Forum,” FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said, referring to the massive plantation drive spearheaded by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government. Responding to the US snub and social media speculations, PM’s special aide on climate change Malik Amin Aslam, described the US virtual moot as a forum “to bring leading global polluters at one platform to work out strategies to protect depleting nature and biodiversity” and not an international climate forum to decide future decisions on environmental conservation. “Pakistan can invite those 40 countries for a global climate change summit and extend ground-based tested and successful solutions being implemented in the country to address climate change,” he said. Detailing Pakistan’s contributions to the global fight against climate change, Aslam said Pakistan’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project and green jobs initiatives have been recognized by the international environmental conservation organizations such as WWF, IUCN, WEF and leading countries. Pakistan was also co-chair of Green Climate Fund (GCF), key financial facility to provide finances to developing countries to implement green projects. The current government has allocated Rs10 billion for climate change projects for the year 2020-21. Pakistan’s leadership role in climate change mitigation and adaptation is also being replicated by several countries. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced a 10 billion tree plantation programme following in the footsteps of Pakistan’s 10 billion tree afforestation project and “Pakistan has also offered the Saudi government all sort of technical support for successful implementation of the programme” Amin Aslam said. [Source: Gulf News]

Planting trees will not solve the environmental crisis that has enveloped the world. The real culprit is Capitalism that persistently pushes the world to post exponential growth which harms the planet. Pakistani officials should take a bold stance and expose Capitalism for what it is—planet’s enemy number one.

India Should Not Seek Closer Ties with US at Expense of Relationship with China

A view in New Delhi's strategic circle argues that China benefited greatly from its engagement with the US from 1972 to around the year 2000, and thus, India should   learn from China to use the US chariot to achieve its own development. There is no problem at all for New Delhi to strengthen its economic ties with Washington, as the US remains the world's largest economy today. But there is a big difference between the India-US proximity now and China and the US moving close back then.  First, Beijing and Washington began their cooperation partly to jointly confront the Soviet Union during the Cold War era. The US almost had no economic exchanges with its then-rival, the Soviet Union. But now the Cold War has been long over, and China is not the new Soviet Union. China is still quite close with the US, especially economically. The large scale of trade between the two countries is self-evident. Second, after China-US relations were normalized and Beijing and Washington began economic cooperation, many of the US' low- and medium-end industries were transferred to China. But now, the US domestic manufacturing is facing a state of hollowing out. Washington now wants to bring the manufacturing back. It does not have much to transfer to New Delhi. From 1972 to 2000, China and the US approaching each other objectively alleviated China's security pressure, allowing China to concentrate more resources on economic construction. However, New Delhi's approach to Washington today will do more harm than good to India's security and economy. In terms of security, India wants to take advantage of the US, but the US is also seeking to make use of India to contain and confront China. This will inevitably intensify the China-India confrontation, requiring India to invest more in the military field. As a result, it will squeeze India's resources for economic development, which is not beneficial for New Delhi. With the continuous rise of emerging economies, the US' national strength is declining. Many actions of the US are based on its own interests. India now wants to get on the US chariot, but the present-day US no longer has the international status it had during the Cold War. If there is a military conflict between China and India, the US will at best provide India with political and diplomatic aid, as well as weapons and intelligence. New Delhi must understand that Washington will not fight a war with Beijing for the sake of India. India will have to bear the price itself if it starts a military conflict with China. India needs to understand that what India is facing is China, a country that currently plays the role the US played in the 1980s and 1990s. [Source: Global Times]

India’s close ties with America mean that China will not trust India in its neighbourhood. This will fuel security competition in the region and increase the probability of war.

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