India expels Canadian diplomat amid fallout over alleged assassination

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, an advocate of Sikh independence from India, was gunned down on 18 June outside a Sikh cultural centre in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

India dismissed allegations that its government was linked to the killing of a Sikh activist in Canada as “absurd” on Tuesday, expelling a senior Canadian diplomat and accusing Canada of interfering in India’s internal affairs.


It came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described what he called credible allegations that India was connected to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, an advocate of Sikh independence from India who was gunned down on 18 June outside a Sikh cultural centre in Surrey, British Columbia, and Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau told Parliament Monday. “In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the government of India to cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter.”

The duelling expulsions come as relations between Canada and India are tense. Trade talks have been derailed and Canada just cancelled a trade mission to India that was planned for the fall.

In its statement announcing the expulsion, India’s Ministry of External Affairs wrote that “the decision reflects Government of India’s growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities.”

Nijjar was organising an unofficial referendum in India for an independent Sikh nation at the time of his death. Indian authorities announced a cash reward last year for information leading to Nijjar’s arrest, accusing him of involvement in an alleged attack on a Hindu priest in India.

India has repeatedly accused Canada of supporting the Sikh independence, or Khalistan, movement, which is banned in India but has support in countries like Canada and the UK with sizable Sikh diaspora populations.

In March, the Modi government summoned the Canadian High Commissioner in New Delhi to complain about Sikh independence protests in Canada. In 2020, India’s foreign ministry also summoned the top diplomat over comments made by Trudeau about an agricultural protest movement associated with the state of Punjab, where many Sikhs live.

Canada has a Sikh population of more than 770,000, or about 2% of its total population.

Trudeau told Parliament that he brought up Nijjar’s slaying with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 meeting in New Delhi last week. He said he told Modi that any Indian government involvement would be unacceptable and that he asked for cooperation in the investigation.

India’s foreign ministry dismissed the allegation as “absurd and motivated.”

“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it wrote in a statement issued earlier Tuesday.


At the G20 meeting, Modi expressed “strong concerns” over Canada’s handling of the Punjabi independence movement among the overseas Sikhs during a meeting with Trudeau at the G20, the statement added.

The statement called on Canada to work with India on what New Delhi said is a threat to the Canadian Indian diaspora and described the Sikh movement as “promoting secessionism and inciting violence” against Indian diplomats. Earlier this year, supporters of the Khalistan movement vandalised Indian consulates in London and San Francisco.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada had expelled a top Indian diplomat, whom she identified as the head of Indian intelligence in Canada.

“If proven true this would be a great violation of our sovereignty and of the most basic rule of how countries deal with each other,” Joly said. “As a consequence, we have expelled a top Indian diplomat.”

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canada’s national security adviser and the head of Canada’s spy service have travelled to India to meet their counterparts and to confront the Indian intelligence agencies with the allegations.


He called it an active homicide investigation led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Joly said Trudeau also raised the matter with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“We are deeply concerned about the allegations referenced by Prime Minister Trudeau,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson. “We remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners. It is critical that Canada’s investigation proceed and the perpetrators be brought to justice.”

Joly also said she would raise the issue with her peers in the G7 on Monday evening in New York City ahead of the United Nations General Assembly.

Canadian opposition New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh, who is himself Sikh, called it outrageous and shocking. Singh said he grew up hearing stories that challenging India’s record on human rights might prevent you from getting a visa to travel there.


“But to hear the prime minister of Canada corroborate a potential link between a murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil by a foreign government is something I could never have imagined,” Singh said.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada called Nijjar an outspoken supporter of Khalistan who “often led peaceful protests against the violation of human rights actively taking place in India and in support of Khalistan.”

“Nijjar had publicly spoken of the threat to his life for months and said that he was targeted by Indian intelligence agencies,” the statement said.

Nijjar’s New York-based lawyer, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, has said Nijjar was warned by Canadian intelligence officials about being targeted for assassination by “mercenaries” before he was gunned down.

India’s main opposition party issued a statement backing Modi’s position. The Congress Party wrote that “the country’s interests and concerns must be kept paramount at all times” and that the fight against terrorism has to be uncompromising, especially when it threatens the nation’s sovereignty.

Indian authorities have targeted Sikh separatism since the 1980s, when an armed insurgency for an independent Sikh state took off in Punjab state.

In 1984, Indian forces stormed the Golden Temple in the state’s Amritsar city to flush out Sikh separatists, who had taken refuge there. The controversial operation killed around 400, according to official figures, although Sikh groups estimate the toll to be higher.

The prime minister who ordered the raid, Indira Gandhi, was killed afterwards by two of her bodyguards, who were Sikh. Her death triggered a series of anti-Sikh riots, in which Hindu mobs went from house to house across northern India, pulling Sikhs from their homes, hacking many to death and burning others alive.

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India vs Bangladesh Highlights, Asia Cup 2023: Shubman Gill, Axar Patel Heroics In Vain As Bangladesh Beat India By 6 Runs | Cricket News

India vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup 2023 Highlights: India lost the game to Bangladesh by 6 runs.© AFP

India vs Bangladesh Highlights: Shubman Gill’s fine-tuned 121 and Axar Patel’s late surge of 42 went in vain as Bangladesh defeated India by 6 runs in the final Super 4 match of Asia Cup 2023 on Friday. Chasing 266-run target, India were bundled out for 259 in 49.5 overs. Mustafizur Rahman starred with three wickets for Bangladesh. Earlier, Shakib Al Hasan (80) and Tohwid Hridoy (54) slammed half-centuries as Bangladesh posted a total of 265 for 8 in 50 overs. For India, Shardul Thakur picked three wickets after captain Rohit won the toss and opted to bowl first. (Scorecard)

Here are the Highlights of India vs Bangladesh Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 match:

  • 23:16 (IST)

    Live Score: What a game!!!

    Bangladesh held their nerve really well tonight to snatch this victory from India. The Shakib Al Hasan-led side kept Rohit Sharma and Co. under the pump ever since the start of the chase and eventually managed to register this vital win to end their Asia Cup 2023 campaign on a high. On the other hand, India will be playing the final match of the tournament against Sri Lanka on Sunday.

  • 23:08 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live: India lose!

    A run-out on the penultimate ball and India have lost the game by 6 runs. Mohammed Shami could not return for the double in time and India are all out for 259 runs. This is Bangladesh’s second win over India in the history of Asia Cup.

    IND 259 (49.5)

  • 23:04 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live: FOUR!

    Tanzim Hasan Sakib bowled one more dot ball before Shami managed to connect one for a four. India need 8 off 2.

  • 23:02 (IST)

    Live Score: Dot balls!

    Tanzim Hasan Sakib starts with two dot balls. He first hit a bouncer on the helmet of Mohammed Shami before bowling a slower one to deceive Shami.

  • 22:58 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live: Axar Patel is out!

    Axar Patel is out for the score of 42 and it’s Bangladesh’s game to lose from here. It was a slower ball from Mustafizur Rahman and Axar hit it into the hands of long-off fielder. from India are nine down needing 12 runs in 8 balls.

  • 22:56 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live: A single!

    Shami is off the mark on the first ball only. He steered the ball to mid-off for a single. Axar Patel is back on strike.

  • 22:55 (IST)

    Live Score: OUT!

    A wicket at a crucial time for Bangladesh! Mustafizur Rahman has removed Shardul Thakur on the very first ball of the penultimate over. Mohammed Shami comes in next. India need 17 runs in 11 balls.

  • 22:50 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live: FOUR! SIX – Axar on fire!

    A powerful shot down the ground from Axar Patel and the ball runs away for a four. He plays a much even better shot on the next ball and it goes for a six, just over the long-on. India need 17 runs in 12 balls.

    IND 249/7 (48)

  • 22:46 (IST)

    Live Cricket Score: Seven-run over!

    India need 31 runs in 18 balls after Mustafizur Rahman bowled a seven-run over. No boundary came in it and the required run rate for India now is 10.33. Mahedi will bowl the next over. Here we go…

  • 22:41 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live: India need 38 in 24!

    A six-run over from Mahedi Hasan and India need 38 runs in 24 balls. Axar Patel is looking in good touch but he is also struggling with injury. Can he take India home from here?

    IND 228/7 (46)

  • 22:39 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: Axar gets injured!

    A throw has hit the hand of Axar Patel who was not alert enough and was looking at a different side. The physio is giving him some pain relieving spray and it seems we are good to go now.

    IND 226/7 (45.4)

  • 22:35 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: Big over!

    12 rusn came off the Nasum Ahmed’s final over. He ended with figures of 0 for 50 in his 10 overs. India now need 44 runs in 30 balls.

    IND 222/7 (45)

  • 22:29 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: SIX!

    A short ball from Nasum and Axar Patel has launced it over the fence for a six. This was much needed the Indian team. They need 49 runs in 34 balls.

  • 22:24 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: Gill is OUT!

    Brilliant bowling from Mahedi Hasan! He has got the wicket of Shubman Gill. The Bangladesh spinner kept the ball away from Gill and this saw the Indian batter hitting it right into the hands of long-off fieler. Gill falls for 121. India need 57 runs in 38 balls.

    IND 209/7 (43.4)

  • 22:21 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: SIX!

    In the slot from Mahedi and Gill and sent it for a big six. India need 57 runs in 39 balls. The game is on!

  • 22:21 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: India need 64 runs in 42 balls!

    A four-run over from Nasum Ahmed and Bangladesh are well in control now. India need 64 runs in 42 balls. This is getting tough for the chasing side now. Can Gill them them through?

    IND 202/6 (43)

  • 22:17 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: India need 68 runs in 48 balls!

    Brilliant bowling from Bangladesh! Only 10 runs in the past two overs and this sees the required run rate increasing to 8.5 now. On wicket here and Bangladesh will be right on top of this game.

    IND 198/6 (42)

  • 22:07 (IST)

    Live Cricket Score: India need 78 runs in 60 balls!

    Only five runs came off Mustafizur Rahman’s sixth over. The third powerplay is up now. India need 78 runs off the last 10 overs. This match hangs in balance and Shubman Gill is the key.

    IND 188/6 (40)

  • 22:03 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: Big over!

    12 runs came off Tanzim Hasan Sakib’s seventh over. India need 83 runs in 66 balls. The game is on!

    IND 183/6 (39)

  • 22:01 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: CENTURY for GILL!

    A couple of runs and there is the fifth ODI century for Shubman Gill. What a knock this has been from the youngster! It has come under great pressure. This surface in Colombo is not that easy for the batters but Gill has just stood aside. His innings has kept India alive in this chase of 266 vs Bangladesh.

  • 21:56 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: OUT!

    The pressure of dot balls gets better of Ravindra Jadeja. He tried to take on Mustafizur Rahman and paid the price. The ball was bowled at 135kmph and Jadeja missed it completely while trying to hit it powerfully over the mid-on. The ball rattled the stumps to put Bangladesh on top again.

    IND 170/6 (37.4)

  • 21:51 (IST)

    Live Cricket Score: India need 97 in 78!

    Six runs came off Nasum Ahmed’s eighth over. India need 97 more to win off the remaining 78 balls. The required run rate is 7.46. This match hangs in balance. Pace comes from one end now as Muastafizur Rahman is set to bowl the 38th over.

    IND 169/5 (37)

  • 21:47 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: SIX!

    It’s the second six of the over and India get a total of 14 runs in it. This is exactly the kind of momentum India needed in this chase. Mehidy Hasan Miraz tossed it up and Gill slammed it right over the long-on for a big six. India need 103 runs in 84 balls.

  • 21:44 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: SIX!

    Shubman Gill breaks the shackles and India get a six after a long-long time in this chase. Gill danced down the track on the bowling of Mehidy Hasan Miraz and hit the ball just over the long-on fielder for a six.

    IND 155/5 (35.3)

  • 21:43 (IST)

    India vs Bangladesh Live: India need 117 runs in 90!

    This match is a bit inclined towards Bangladesh as India are five down with only one set batter in Shubman Gill. One more wicket and Bangladesh will be through to the tail of Indian batting line-up. The required run rate for India from here is 7.8.

    IND 149/5 (35)

  • 21:32 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: WICKET!

    Shakib Al Hasan has cleaned up Suryakumar Yadav. India are in deep deep trouble now as the required run rate has increased to 7.33. They need 127 runs more to win. Coming to the wicket, Suryakumar tried to play a sweep shot but missed the ball that made its way to the stumps.

    IND 139/5 (32.4)

  • 21:27 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: Close chance!

    Shubman Gill edged a Nasum Ahmed delivery but he was lucky that the cover fielder could not reach to the ball in time. The ball a bit away from the fielder, who was running behind.

    IND 136/4 (31.3)

  • 21:23 (IST)

    Live Score: FOUR!

    Another four from the bat of Suryakumar Yadav. This is really good improvement from the right-handed batter against Bangladesh spin bowling in this innings. This time he waited for the ball on the backfoot and then executed a superb cut shot past the backward point region for a four.

    IND 131/4 (30.2)

  • 21:18 (IST)

    Live Score: FOUR!

    After several mishits, Suryakumar Yadav finally gets a sweep shot from the middle of his bat. Mahedi Hasan bowled it fuller and SKY hit it to the backward sqaure leg for a four.

    IND 122/4 (29.2)

  • 21:16 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: Suryakumar struggling!

    Suryakumar Yadav has been exposed by Bangladesh spin bowling. He is finding it really hard to even rotate the strike. Meanwhile, the Bangladesh spinners have made sure that Suryakumar stays under the pump.

    IND 117/4 (29)

  • 21:03 (IST)

    Live Score: Bangladesh lose a review!

    On the fifth ball of the over, Suryakumar Yadav tried to play a Shakeeb Al Hasan delivery down the leg side but missed it. He got hit on the pad and Bangladesh appealed for an LBW. Umpire gave it not out but Bangladesh reviewed only to lose their second and remaining review.

    IND 106/4 (25)

  • 20:56 (IST)

    Live Score: SIX! What a shot!

    That’s magnificent from Shubman Gill! He danced down the track and hit the ball over the long-off for a six with utmost ease. It seemed like an effortless shot from Gill but the ball comfortably travelled the distance. That’s some great class for you!

    IND 104/4 (24.1)

  • 20:54 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: OUT!

    Mehidy Hasan Miraz has got the wicket of Ishan Kishan and India are in trouble once again! They need 172 runs more to win. Mehidy Hasan Miraz caught Kishan plumb in front of the stumps after the batter missed his reverse sweep. Meanwhile, Kishan also wasted one review.

  • 20:42 (IST)

    India vs Bangladesh Live: Fifty for Gill!

    SIX! Shubman Gill gets to his half-century with a six. He scores his fifty in 61 balls and that is the 9th ODI half-century for him. It is worth noting that the right-handed batter averages over 60 in this format.

    IND 89/3 (20)

  • 20:29 (IST)

    Live Score: WICKET!

    KL Rahul is out! Mahedi Hasan has provided Bangladesh a crucial breakthrough. The 57-run partnership between Rahul and Gill for the third wicket is finally broken. Coming to the wicket, Rahul danced down the track and mishit the ball into the hands of Shamim at short mid-wicket.

    IND 74/3 (17.1)

  • 20:13 (IST)

    India vs Bangladesh Live: FOUR!

    Stand-and-deliver stuff from Shubman Gill! He got onto the backfoot and punched the ball on the off side for a four. When Gill gets going, there is no stopping. He is looking in great touch today.

    IND 64/2 (13)

  • 20:07 (IST)

    Live Score: FOUR!

    Shakib Al Hasan overpitched the ball around off and Gill brought his classical wrists into play. He drove the ball through the cover for a four. There was one fielder at deep point but he could not reach to the ball in time.

    IND 54/2 (11.4)

  • 20:05 (IST)

    Live Score: Catching opportunity!

    Shubman Gill hit a back of a length ball from Tanzim Hasan Sakib from the backfoot and nearly found the diving point fielder. The ball missed the fielder by a whisker to see Gill survive the close scare.

    IND 46/2 (11)

  • 20:00 (IST)

    India vs Bangladesh Live: End of 1st powerplay!

    The first powerplay is over! Tanzim Hasan Sakib struck with two early wickets to put India in trouble but KL Rahul and Shubman Gill have done a decent job so far to add 25 runs off 44 balls for the third wicket.

    IND 42/2 (10)

  • 19:52 (IST)

    IND vs BAN Live Score: Two FOURS in the over!

    This is superb batting from the duo of Shubman Gill and KL Rahul. First Gill hit a shot from the backfoot for a four on the third ball of Nasum Ahmed. He then rotated the strike and Rahul then hit a classy boundary. 11 runs came off the over.

    IND 38/2 (8)

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G20’s inability to tackle territorial disputes will lead to its demise

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

The G20 has no choice. If it wants to stay relevant and play a vital role in providing the solutions humanity needs for our very survival, then it must reconsider its geopolitical squeamishness, Saman Rizwan writes.

On the surface level, this year’s G20 appeared to be a success. But beneath the PR spins and the friendly handshakes, the G20 is more fractious than ever.


And its inability to address agenda-wrecking disputes will ultimately lead to the bloc’s irrelevance and demise.

After all, the world is facing a slew of competing emergencies: the escalating climate crisis, various humanitarian disasters, the seemingly endless Ukraine-Russia war, and the continued economic fallout from COVID-19 – all which require the diplomatic clout of the G20 to mitigate.

But unfortunately, this year’s G20 in India’s capital looked more insipid than ever before, drastically lacking a transformative edge and even leaving the bloc on the edge of a diplomatic cold war.

And it’s not only because Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a clear fault line throughout the bloc, or because commitments on transformative climate action were found wanting, with no mention of the critical net-zero goal of phasing out oil and gas.

It is because the G20 is failing to address the cataclysmic geopolitical divides, specifically the mounting territorial disputes, that are ripping apart the fabric of international collaboration.

If G20 can’t resolve geopolitical issues, who can?

Already in the run-up to this year’s summit, China threatened to derail President Narendra Modi’s big international moment by releasing its 2023 standard map which showed parts of Russia and India, as well as the entirety of the South China Sea, as Chinese territory.

China’s expansionist tendencies are nothing new but targeting nuclear-armed India on the eve of its big G20 moment, which resulted in the glaring absence of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, should be a red flag for the international community.

See, Modi may have claimed that “the G20 is not the place to resolve geopolitical issues.” But G20 members account for over 70% of global GDP, half of the world’s population, and comprise the top five biggest CO2 emitters.

If this group of countries, that come together every year, can’t resolve geopolitical issues and territorial disputes, then who can?

This is no more apparent than in the South China Sea where China’s hostile aggression is threatening regional stability and economic security.

China’s role in rising tensions

The region is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes home to billions of euros’ worth of oil and natural gas.


But for decades China has been going to increasing lengths to protect its farcical “nine-dash-line claim” to the entirety of the South China Sea – which it still touts even though it was rejected by an arbitration court in 2016.

Over the years, China’s military presence and belligerence in the region have skyrocketed.

In recent months, the country has been accused of building military bases on disputed islands and even harassing fishing and coast guard vessels of neighbouring countries. And the rising tensions could easily turn deadly.

For example, in 1974 and 1988, China and Vietnam engaged in deadly clashes over disputed territory in the South China Sea.

It’s perhaps no coincidence that US President Joe Biden travelled to Vietnam after the G20 summit to announce the signing of the “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” – a historic deal that boosts relations between the two former bitter enemies.


After all, without the support of ASEAN nations, it will be impossible to curtail China’s staunch hold on the region.

The increasingly strange case of the Sultanate of Sulu

But Biden’s move is only the tip of the iceberg, and other G20 members must forge new partnerships to help ASEAN not only emerge from China’s economic shadow but come together in solidarity against China’s divisive strategies.

This means that world leaders must play a more prominent role in mediating longstanding disputes which are hindering unity in the South China Sea.

For example, relations between Malaysia and The Philippines have been strained following the result of a controversial arbitration case involving the defunct Sultanate of Sulu.

The Sulu heirs were awarded $15 billion (€14bn) after Malaysia allegedly stopped paying a colonial-era land lease fee to the Sulu after militants tied to the Sultanate clashed with Malaysian security forces in Sabah in 2013.


The award was eventually annulled – and even the Spanish attorney involved faces criminal charges back home – but the case highlights how territorial disputes, left unresolved for decades, are undermining vital partnerships during times of increased regional tension.

G20 has to stop hesitating if it wants to survive

The G20 has no choice. If it wants to stay relevant and play a vital role in providing the solutions humanity needs for our very survival, then it must reconsider its geopolitical squeamishness and offer a counterweight to China’s imperialist agenda.

This means diplomatic partnerships shouldn’t happen in back rooms after the G20 but on stage in front of the world.

It also means that G20 countries should translate their words into action by solidifying long-anticipated economic trade agreements and military alliances that have remained uncertain for years.

After all, between the G20 members, there is a wealth of experience to draw upon that would provide a strong platform for constructive diplomacy.

Just consider Biden’s new trilateral agreement with Japan and South Korea, or how the US mediated talks between bitter neighbours Israel and Lebanon to hash out a lucrative maritime agreement that navigated complex claims to undersea gas fields.

Ultimately, if G20 members can’t find ways to mitigate mounting territorial disputes then not only will they fail to tackle the globe’s biggest challenges, but their hesitancy will also eventually lead to its, and perhaps our world’s, demise.

Saman Rizwan is a UK-based analyst on South Asian affairs. As a journalist and commentator, she frequently writes for publications including South China Morning Post, The Diplomat, The Nation, Forbes, and Newsweek.

At Euronews, we believe all views matter. Contact us at [email protected] to send pitches or submissions and be part of the conversation.

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What purpose does the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) serve? | Explained

From left, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (Japan), Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (Italy), President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Prime Minister Narendra Modi (India), President Joe Biden (U.S), President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (UAE) and President Emmanuel Macron (France) attend Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment event on the day of the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, on September 9, 2023.
| Photo Credit: AP

The story so far: At a special event on the sidelines of the recently concluded G20 summit in New Delhi, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to establish the ‘India-Middle East- Europe Economic Corridor’ (IMEC). Other than the two co-chairs of the event, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden, the signatories included leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the European Union (EU), Italy, France and Germany.

The project, which forms part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), may also serve as a counter to China’s economic influence in the Eurasian region, observers have suggested.

What is the corridor?

The proposed IMEC will consist of railroad, ship-to-rail networks (road and sea) and road transport routes (and networks) extending across two corridors, that is, the east corridor – connecting India to the Gulf, and the northern corridor – connecting the Gulf to Europe. As per the MoU, the railway, upon completion, would provide a “reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network to supplement existing maritime and road transports routes”.

It would enable the transportation of goods and services from India to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Europe, and back. All in all, it is expected that the corridor would increase efficiency (relating to transit), reduce costs, enhance economic unity, generate jobs, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. This is expected to translate into a “transformative integration of Asia, Europe and the Middle East.”

The MoU states that participants, intend to enable the laying of cables for electricity and digital connectivity, as well as pipes for clean hydrogen export along the railway route.

The MoU states that participants will “work collectively and expeditiously” to arrange and implement all elements of the transit route. These relate to technical design, financing, legal and relevant regulatory standards. A meeting is planned in the next sixty days to carve out an “action plan” with “relevant timetables”.

How has it been received?

While Mr. Modi suggested the corridor “promises to be a beacon of cooperation, innovation, and shared progress,” Mr. Biden referred to it as the “real big deal”.

Ms. von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said the corridor was “more than ‘just’ a railway or a cable, it is a green and digital bridge across continents and civilisations.” She called it the “most direct connection” between India, the Gulf and Europe: with a rail link that would make trade between India and Europe 40% faster.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose country will also be a part of the corridor, also welcomed the move. He said that the link would help realise “a multi-year vision that will change the face of the Middle East, and Israel, and will affect the entire world.”

On the other hand, with the corridor being suggested as a competitor for China’s BRI, the announcement did not draw enthusiasm from the Chinese media. An editorial in the Global Times highlighted doubts from Chinese experts about the project’s credibility and feasibility. T “It is not the first time for Washington to make empty pledges to various countries and regions,” it read.

What geopolitics is at play here?

It has often been believed that China is utilising the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from the Indo-Pacific to West Asia to further their economic and political influence, particularly on sovereigns with relatively instable economies.  Financial Times  points out that, for the U.S., the project could also serve to counter Beijing’s influence “at a time when Washington’s traditional Arab partners, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are deepening ties with China, India and other Asian powers.”

Professor Michaël Tanchum, Senior Fellow at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, said in August 2021 that a corridor connecting India to Europe via West Asia and the Mediterranean region could serve as an “alternative trans-regional commercial transportation route” to the troubled Chabahar-based International North-South Transit Corridor. “Instead of Chabahar, the ports of the UAE —India’s third largest trading partner — would serve as the Indian Ocean connectivity node,” he said.

He observed that from Mumbai, Indian goods shipped by this route could arrive on the European mainland in as less as 10 days — 40% faster than through the Suez Canal maritime route.

Professor Tanchum also observed that India’s “careful cultivation” of multilateral economic cooperation with such a corridor “was of paramount importance.” According to him, “Despite India’s favourable demographics, geography and commercial transportation infrastructure are not alone sufficient to ensure that India will realise its potential as a Eurasian economic power.” He further elaborated that, “Commercial corridors only emerge where requisite large investments in port and rail infrastructure are coupled with an industrial base anchored in manufacturing value chains”— precisely the purpose of the present corridor.

This corridor may also hint at further normalisation of ties between Israel and the countries in the Gulf.

How does this relate to the Israel and Gulf relationship?

Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have diplomatic ties —primarily because of differences of opinion about the Israel-Palestine conflict. In fact, Israel has official ties with only Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco in the Arab region. In this light, the transit network which seeks integration on multiple fronts assumes particular significance.

Financial Times learnt from a person briefed about the discussions, that the corridor’s passage through Jordan and Israel could also support the Biden administration’s effort to build on the recent normalisation of ties between Israel and several Arab states, including the UAE. This may push Saudi Arabia to follow suit and formalise ties. “China is one factor. The U.S. is also trying to refocus attention on the region, to reassure traditional partners and to maintain influence,” the publication learnt.

With Saudi Arabia being the world’s top exporter of oil and UAE being West Asia’s dominant finance centre, the publication writes that both are “seeking to project themselves as key logistics and trade hubs between east and west.”

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How Moto GP is trying to avoid the pitfalls that scuppered F1’s foray into India

Ten years ago, India made its mark on the world motorsport map with the inaugural Indian Grand Prix Formula One race in 2011, which ran for three years at the Buddh International Circuit.

The Indian GP was an audacious effort from a private enterprise with little government support. The Jaypee group, which built the circuit, promoted the race before it hit financial troubles, leading to Formula One dropping the country with two years left in the contract.

Also read: Inaugural Grand Prix — a dream come true for India

During its run, the Grand Prix also got mired in various issues, from customs clearance for bringing the cars and parts to taxation when motorsports was not even considered a sport and was instead classified as entertainment.

The bureaucracy did not help matters with the red tape frustrating everyone as there was very little State support for the event.

Earlier this year, a big-ticket motorsport event returned when Hyderabad hosted a round of the FIA Formula E championship around the city’s streets, with the local government being heavily involved in bringing the race. While Formula E is a world championship event, it started only in 2014, and there are already doubts if it will happen next year.

Also read: Hyderabad loses spot in E-Prix, but all is not lost yet

But next week, India has another chance to host a high-profile motorsport event when Moto GP, the premier two-wheeler racing series, makes its entrance with the inaugural Grand Prix of Bharat at the BIC in Greater Noida.

Like F1 was, this event is also being promoted by a private enterprise — Fairstreet Sports. But unlike the Formula One experience, the race has the blessings of both the Uttar Pradesh and the Union governments, which should help in areas like logistics and visas, for example.

But how did the whole thing come to be about? The Hindu recently caught up with Pushkar Nath Srivastava, the chief operating officer of Fairstreet Sports. The promoters have signed a seven-year deal to host a round of the prestigious championship that started in 1949, one year before Formula One.

“Our team has been part of the World SuperBike championship in 2013 and 14. We went racing for two years, and MotoGP acquired the series. My partner Amit Sandill stayed with the racing arena and moved to Europe, where we saw MotoGP from close quarters,” said Srivastava

“So in 2019, when the government classified motorsport as a sport, it was a major step. We started studying what F1 did and didn’t and what we should and shouldn’t do as well. We started reading the judgments and did our homework for two years, and then we realised this is probably the best thing to do,” said Srivastava.

Also read: Did Indian customs cost Alonso the title?

The next step was to convince Dorna, the commercial rights holder for Moto GP. While Dorna was confident with the organisers’ ability, it wanted to know how much the government would support the efforts, having seen what F1 went through.

“They came to meet the UP CM Yogi Adityanath and the Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakuar and quickly realised they were passionate about Moto GP. With that, the approval and compliance process got very smooth, with the Sports Ministry becoming our single-touch point alongside the UP Govt. We got all our NOCs on time and didn’t have to keep running from one office to another.”

Though India is the biggest two-wheeler market, with more than 15 million bikes sold yearly, Moto GP has taken time to come to the country.

“No one was able to convince them before this. We did our study and convinced them how it can be done. We told them you should look at the Indian market to increase your numbers. After the race announcement, Moto GP has more followers on Facebook in India than F1 has. At the end of the day, every house has a bike and a bat,” Srivastava explained.

It is here that the government’s decision to classify motorsport as a sport did wonders. “Now that the federation (FMSCI) is recognised as well, the global federation (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme) talks to our federation, which then talks to the Sports Ministry. Things like processing visas have become easy because the ministry recognises the federation.”

The core issue during F1’s three-year visit was with taxation, as teams had to pay a portion of their revenue earned since India was one of the 19 or 20 events on the calendar.

Also see: Grand Prix of Bharat

When asked how the organisers are dealing with it, Srivastava said, “They (F1) didn’t know how Indian taxation worked, and it was a mindset problem because they sold the broadcasting rights and other things.

“So, for MotoGP, we are taking care of selling broadcasting rights to Jio Cinema, and similarly, we are also handling some sponsorships. So, we generate revenue, and we pay the taxes in the right way. It was also a mindset change for Dorna to let go of certain things, and we convinced them that we can handle some things better.”

The Formula One Indian GP was an audacious effort from a private enterprise with little government support
The Jaypee Group, which built the circuit and promoted the race, hit financial troubles, leading to Formula One dropping the country from the calendar
The government’s decision to classify motorsport as a sport, from the earlier classification of entertainment, in 2019 has worked wonders in bringing Moto GP to the country
After having lost F1 and uncertainties around Formula E, a lot rides on MotoGP

While some logistical stuff has been smoothed out, there were issues regarding the track itself. The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) took over the land on which the circuit was built after the Jaypee Group failed to pay its dues, though it maintains the facility. The problem meant there were some issues in doing the essential repairs to the track to make it suitable for bike racing and needing clarification over which party would do it.

Things were eventually sorted out, with organisers footing the bill to repair the track. “The track had some challenges, and we met the CM and told him we wanted to bring MotoGP, and they helped us immediately. So we partnered with Jaypee and the government, and both gave us the required NOC to do the work on the track. Jaypee was open-minded and keen to bring a big event and is partnering with us. It is a shame to see such a great property not being used,” said Srivastava.

Also read: Rural sports academy dearer to me than F1, says Maken

Across the world, countries provide state funding to bring motorsport events to promote local tourism. While it is a tough sell to use public funds in a low-income country like India with more pressing needs, there seems to be a change in mindset at the government level to at least make it easier to hold such events without direct state funding.

After having lost F1 and uncertainties around Formula E, a lot rides on MotoGP. A third strike could be a massive dent to the country’s image and make other series wary of coming here yet again.

But with just ten days to go, Srivastava is confident of pulling off a great event that can stay on the calendar. “This a great chance to showcase what UP and India offer. More than 200 countries watch MotoGP. Recently, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about following the Qatar model of using sport to promote tourism, and it warmed our hearts to hear that at a time when we are doing that.”

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ASEAN | Southeast Asia’s source of stability

In 1967, as the Cold War was at its height, five countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — decided to embark on a path of regional cooperation with the initial goal of opposing communism. Today, after bracing the peaks and troughs of more than five decades in which it expanded its membership to a total of 10 nations and enlarging areas of cooperation, the organisation, which is seen as a rare example of cooperation in one of the most culturally and politically diverse regions, is trying to protect itself from becoming the new age proxy battlefield.

On September 5, at the 43rd summit of the Association of East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, Indonesian President Joko Widodo opened the event by saying the grouping had agreed to not be a “proxy” to any powers, in a veiled reference to the growing competition between China and the U.S. to assert influence in the region. “Don’t turn our ship into an arena for rivalry that is destructive,” the leader warned as top officials from both countries were in attendance .

The Hindu Editorial | Eastern hedge: On the need for India to stay closely engaged with ASEAN members

ASEAN, while being lauded by some and written off by others for the way it functions, continues to pride itself on its two core operating principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of its members and consensual decision-making. It also strives to maintain what it describes as “centrality”. Article 1.15 of the ASEAN Charter states that the group’s main objective is to maintain ASEAN’s centrality, which essentially means being in the driver’s seat.

It is perhaps due to this recipe for regional partnership that the 10 economies of Southeast Asia (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) that can be spotted at varied points on the administrative spectrum from democracy to absolute monarchy have managed to work together on lucrative economic goals.

Representing a strategically important region cradling some of the world’s busiest sea lanes, including those in the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea, the 10 countries collectively rank as the world’s fifth-largest economy, having posted a combined annual GDP of around $3.2 trillion in 2022. With a 600-million strong population, it is also an attractive market.

The ASEAN way

The grouping gradually began to expand its areas of cooperation: in 1976, member states signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, focusing on mutual respect and non-interference in other countries’ affairs. At the end of the 1990s, membership doubled as the end of the Cold War, and the normalisation of relations between the U.S. and Vietnam brought relative peace to mainland Southeast Asia. As Brunei entered the grouping in 1984, followed by Vietnam (1995), Laos and Myanmar (1997), and Cambodia (1999), it began to foray into economic cooperation between members.

In 1992, member-states formed the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) with the objectives of creating a single market, increasing trade and investments within members, and getting foreign investments. The AFTA removed tariffs on nearly 8,000 items and raised business access to neighbouring markets, also lowering consumer goods prices. With the 1997 Asian financial crisis finding its roots in Thailand, ASEAN members moved to further integrate their economies.

While it only took form in 2015, ASEAN countries had resolved back in 2003 to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a single market community and production base to facilitate the free flow of goods, services, investments, capital, and labour. While the jury is still out on the efficacy of the AEC, it helped further reduce tariffs.

Over the decades, ASEAN countries, while seen by many observers as having underdeveloped economic and security systems of their own, established various international fora to look outward and collaborate with external partners while keeping the “centrality” principle intact. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), first convened in 1994 with 26 Asian and Pacific states and the EU, was formed to facilitate dialogue on political and security matters. The East Asia Summit (EAS), created in 2005, is an evolving, leaders-level forum with a varied agenda. It also convenes the ASEAN-India Summit to cooperate on a range of areas. ASEAN also has trade agreements with several regional partners, including Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. In 2019, ASEAN and five of those nations concluded a trade agreement covering 30% of the world’s population (more than any other such agreement) known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

ASEAN nations have been lauded by multiple observers for being able to engage regionally and internationally on such a scale despite being vastly heterogeneous in terms of cultures, growth and developmental levels, modes of governance, and so on. Singapore, for instance, has the highest GDP per capita in the group at around $60,000 while Myanmar’s has the lowest. While Singapore and Vietnam are considered as some of the world’s most religiously diverse countries, Buddhist-majority Cambodia and Muslim-majority Indonesia are fairly homogeneous.

The success of this regional partnership, some observe, hinges on ASEAN’s informal organisational structure, heavy focus on consensus building, equal weightage to members, and a policy of non-interference, which has collectively been dubbed the “ASEAN Way”. Others, meanwhile, argue, that this style constrains ASEAN from acting strongly and cohesively on important issues, often writing it off as ineffective and toothless.

Geopolitical challenges

While priding itself as the beacon of Southeast-Asia’s regional and global outreach in multiple areas, ASEAN has not been isolated from the pressures and lures of geopolitics. The ASEAN model has been questioned over the grouping’s inability to provide a coordinated response to China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, where five ASEAN members (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) have contesting claims.

In the last couple of years, ASEAN has been criticised for not adequately isolating the military junta which seized power in Myanmar in 2021. Owing to its growing economic and strategic importance, ASEAN has also landed itself in a dilemma of picking sides between the U.S. and China. While China is the region’s biggest trading partner and pumps in more investments than the U.S., it also is facing opposition in multiple member states, owing to the nature of its investments and bids to throw its weight around militarily. On the other hand, while successive U.S. administrations have not engaged consistently with the region, America views ASEAN as a geopolitical buffer to help maintain the “rules-based order” and outpace China economically.

The Hindu Editorial | Restoring order: On ASEAN and Myanmar 

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G20: Biden and Modi working in ‘warmth and confidence’ to build ties

President Joe Biden opened his visit to India on Friday by meeting privately with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Indian leader’s home in a session the White House said was marked by “undeniable warmth and confidence” going into the annual Group of 20 summit.

Biden spent 52 minutes with Modi after a lavish welcome ceremony at the airport, and Kurt Campbell, a Biden adviser on the Indo-Pacific, told reporters afterwards that warm sentiments have replaced a sense of distrust and uncertainty that previously defined relations between the two countries.


“What I have seen grown over time is an undeniable warmth and confidence between the two leaders,” Campbell said.

Another adviser, Eileen Laubacher, senior director for South Asia at the White House National Security Council, added that Biden and Modi were “so comfortable discussing, really, the breadth of things that we’re trying to accomplish together.”

A joint statement issued after the meeting reaffirmed US-India partnerships on several fronts, especially with regard to computer chips, telecommunications, higher education, access to shipping lanes in the Indo-Pacific and the reduction of carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Biden also congratulated Modi on India’s recent moon landing.

While India was disappointed that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin declined to attend the G20, those absences could give Biden the space to further stitch together US and India ties.

“There are undeniable opportunities here for the United States,” Campbell said. “We fully intend to strengthen and deepen our relationship. We leave it to China, in particular, to discuss and explain why they’re not here.”

Campbell also suggested that a major infrastructure and communications project to connect India with the Middle East and Europe will be announced soon.

But when asked if Biden pushed Modi on press access and broader democratic issues in India, Campbell said Biden tries to be clear about issues critical to the health of democracy. Still, Campbell declined to get into specifics, saying the president “has determined that he wants to conduct that dialogue in a dignified, respectful way.”

The US president received a Bollywood-style greeting after Air Force One landed, with dancers in flowing purple outfits gyrating to pop music.

Having feted Modi with a state visit to Washington in June, Biden is banking on the idea that successful diplomacy depends on personal connections. But it’s a relationship largely being explored in private. White House reporters travelling with Biden were denied access to the leaders’ meeting. Indian state media shared visuals of the meeting on social media.

Biden and Modi have had more than a dozen in-person or virtual engagements since 2021 as both look to tighten the U.S.-India partnership amid shared major concerns. Those include an increasingly assertive China and monumental challenges posed by climate change, artificial intelligence, global supply chain resilience and other issues.

Modi has heavily branded the summit as his own. The prime minister has his image posted along the highway from the airport, greeting G20 delegates with quotes about climate change, innovation and India’s unique role as an advocate for developing countries. As a result, Biden was something of a houseguest when he met his Indian counterpart.


Modi held the meeting at his residence, “so it is unusual in that respect,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Thursday aboard Air Force One.

Biden, a center-left Democrat, and Modi, a conservative Hindu nationalist, are hardly ideological soulmates. Yet, both leaders are increasingly drawn together by China’s military and economic manoeuvrings in the Indo-Pacific.

India late last month lodged an objection through diplomatic channels with Beijing over China’s new standard map that lays claim to India’s territory along their shared border.

The version of the Chinese map published by the Ministry of Natural Resources website shows Arunachal Pradesh and the Doklam Plateau – over which the two sides have feuded – included within Chinese borders, along with Aksai Chin in the western section that China controls but India still claims. The Philippines and Malaysia have also lodged protests over the new Chinese map.

The map was released just days after Modi and Jinping met on the sidelines of a summit of the BRICS bloc of developing economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and agreed to work to de-escalate tensions at their disputed border.


The administration was eager to build on the momentum from Modi’s June state visit, which included announcements on climate, health care and space as well as some major private sector projects.

The two sides set the groundwork for US-based General Electric to partner with India-based Hindustan Aeronautics to produce jet engines for Indian aircraft in India and the sale of US-made armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones. US-based Micron Technology agreed to build a $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and test facility in India, with Micron spending more than $800 million and India financing the rest. The administration also plans to discuss civil nuclear issues.

The White House has sought to play down Biden and Modi ‘s differences over Russia’s war in Ukraine. India abstained from voting on UN resolutions condemning Russia and refused to join the global coalition against Russia. Since the start of the war, the Modi government has dramatically increased its purchase of Russian oil.

Biden’s effort to pull India closer has been shadowed by concerns from activists and some American lawmakers about India’s human rights record under Modi.

The prime minister has faced criticism over legislation amending the country’s citizenship law that fast-tracks naturalization for some migrants but excludes Muslims, over a rise in violence against Muslims and other religious minorities by Hindu nationalists, and the recent conviction of India’s top opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi, for mocking Modi’s surname.


India also ranks 161st out of 180 countries in this year’s Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders.

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The Ukraine war and extreme heat are threatening global food security

Russia’s partial blocade of Ukrainian grain exports as well as extreme weather events have fuelled fears about global food supplies, but things may not be as bad as they seem, according to the OECD.

The global grain export outlook had to be amended after major exporter Ukraine once again began to face Russian military threat on its shipments on the Black Sea. The situation has been aggravated by extreme heat decimating the produce of the world’s largest exporters in Asia, and India announcing a partial ban on its rice exports.


This perfect storm of diminishing grain supplies and heat waves has inflamed fears that global food security could be in dire straits. But are these concerns well-founded?

Why has Russia’s invasion of Ukraine been so dangerous for food supplies?

Since Moscow pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July 2023, there’s been no guarantee of safe passage for tens of millions of tonnes of produce from Ukraine.

Russia has blockaded the country’s Black Sea ports, and ships that carry grain are under the constant threat of attack by its forces.

Turkey and the UN are currently in discussions with Moscow to restore the deal, which would allow Ukrainian grain vessels to pass through unhindered. However, President Vladimir Putin poured cold water on any sense of that happening after talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday, demanding first that the West facilitate Russian agricultural exports.

Both Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s key agricultural producers and major suppliers of grains such as wheat, maize, and oilseeds such as rapeseed and sunflower seed, many of which developing African nations rely on.

According to the UN, while the Black Sea Grain Initiative was in place, low and middle-income countries collectively received 57% of the grain leaving those ports.

The World Food Programme, which provides food assistance worldwide, got half of its wheat supply from Ukrainian export last year and more than three quarters this year, which was sent to countries with low food security such as Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

Other African countries also import a large proportion of their cereals through the Black Sea region.

The African Development Bank (ADB) estimates that 15 out of 54 African nations buy more than half their wheat from either Ukraine or Russia.

Many of these countries face high inflation and growing difficulties in feeding their populations, and the strengthening dollar, a reaction to tense and uncertain geopolitics, has further escalated the problem.

“Some of these countries have been victims of a triple shock,” said Marion Jansen, director for trade and agriculture at the OECD. “Originally, the dollar price of grains went up. On top of that, the dollar became more expensive. And on top of that, those countries were suffering from supply chain shocks in logistics.”


Extreme heat takes a toll on crops across Asia

It’s not just the war that is threatening global food security, but the weather too. Both rice and wheat supplies are now facing alarming shortages.

China’s grain production has suffered significantly from the extreme heat, mainly due to the intensification of El Niño. The climatic phenomenon, which triggers changes in temperature and rainfall, has impacted grain produce across Asia.

Forecasts for lower rainfall in September are further threatening to disrupt supplies.

“We are still waiting for the official numbers of these [cereal production in China, ed.] to come out, but these are things that can impact markets,” explained Jansen.

Meanwhile India, which accounts for 40% of global rice exports, has announced an export ban on non-basmati white rice and broken rice, to curb high prices inside the country, essentially halving Indian rice exports.


The lack of rain has also taken a toll on Australia’s wheat output.

“Wheat production is going to be three million (metric) tonnes lower than our initial estimate of 33 million tonnes,” Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agricultural brokerage IKON Commodities, told Reuters. “If the dryness continues in September, we are looking at an even lower crop.”

How much produce is missing from the food market?

With grain exports stalled in Ukraine and the heat wreaking havoc with crop production in Asia, you might be wondering just how much of a shortfall there is.

In July, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization had foreseen record high production: 2,819 million tonnes in 2023, 1.1% higher than in the previous year.

Since then, the latest data from the International Grains Council’s August forecasts has suggested a lower output, but also a strong global production with just below 2,230 million tonnes of produce worldwide.


The report also notes the increasing risks stemming from global supply uncertainty.

The Council doesn’t exclude a price rally in grains and oilseeds due to the situation in Ukraine. The IMF previously estimated a 10-15% rise in grain prices if the Black Sea Grain Initiative is not restored.

However, recent events are unlikely to cause a seismic shift in the global food industry, according to the OECD.

“Now we are seeing a slight downward adjustment because of the weather conditions in places like Canada, Europe, and also China.” said Jansen. “So far we do not have the impression that we expect big shocks in terms of renewed big price increases.”

“Production has adjusted, logistics chains have adjusted and this will continue to happen,“ she explained.

“What is very important in situations like this, is for countries to remain calm and not contribute to nervousness in the market by, for instance, introducing new export restrictions because this could drive prices up again,“ Jansen added.

Restoring Ukrainian exports to their full potential remains crucial, especially seeing as the country foresees a better cereal yield than expected, along with Kazakhstan. But with talks between Moscow and the West stalled, the grain deal’s future remains uncertain.

Nevertheless, overall output can be supported by the winter wheat production in the Americas. The US has a good chance to benefit from above-average precipitation in southern states from November to February: a positive by-product of El Niño.

South American weather is also expected to be crop-friendly for soybeans and corn which will be harvested in early 2024.

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#Ukraine #war #extreme #heat #threatening #global #food #security

G20: India seeks voice for Global South but Ukraine war to overshadow

It’s never been easy for the leaders of the world’s largest economies to find common ground, but Russia’s war on Ukraine has made it even harder for the Group of 20 meeting to reach meaningful agreements this year.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this year’s host, has pledged Ukraine won’t overshadow his focus on the needs of developing nations in the so-called Global South, but the war has proved hard to ignore.


As leaders began arriving Friday, Indian diplomats were still trying to find compromise language for a joint communique. Ending the summit without such a statement would underscore how strained relations are among the world’s major powers – and tarnish the image Modi has been trying to cultivate of India as a global problem solver.

“New Delhi will not want to distract from the main agenda, which is to address issues of concern for the Global South,” said Nazia Hussain, an associate research fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

“So while there will be discussions on the emerging issues as a fallout of the war – supply chain security and decoupling, energy security, and food supply – the focus must remain on how to mitigate the fallout rather than debate the geopolitical/security aspects of the war.”

Russia and China, which has been Moscow’s most important supporter in the war against Ukraine, have rejected draft communique over a reference to Ukraine that said “most members strongly condemned the war,” the same language they signed off a year ago at the G20 summit in Bali.

The European Union, meanwhile, has said compromise language suggested by India is not strong enough for them to agree to, while the UK said that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak planned to press G20 members to take a tougher line against Russia’s invasion.

European Council President Charles Michel told reporters Friday that it was important to give India space as it worked “actively, maybe sometimes discreetly, to maximize the chance for a communique.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the Bali summit by video last year, but Modi has made a point of not inviting the country to participate in this year’s event.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised Zelenskyy to keep Ukraine in the discussions, telling him in a video call that the leaders posted on Instagram: “I’m disappointed that you won’t be included but as you know, we will be speaking up strongly for you.”

Founded in 1999, the G20 began with a focus on global economic challenges, but since then, geopolitical tensions have complicated its ability to work effectively, said Ian Lesser, vice president of the German Marshall Fund and director of its Brussels office.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine and China’s growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region have added friction, pitting some of the most powerful G20 countries directly against each other diplomatically, Lesser said.

“Having China and Russia in the room now is a very different question than it would have been a decade ago,” he said. “It is very difficult now for any of these large-scale summits to avoid the major issues of the issues of the day, and these major issues are very polarizing – the war in Ukraine, tensions in the Indo-Pacific, even climate policy – the things that are both at the top of the global agenda but also very difficult to address.”


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will not be attending the G20 themselves, instead sending lower-level officials.

Russia and China did not indicate why their leaders are not going, but neither has travelled much recently and both seem to be putting a greater emphasis on the more like-minded BRICS group of nations. That group agreed at its summit last month to invite six new countries to join.

China’s relations with India continue to be strained over border disputes, but Modi discussed the issue face-to-face with Xi at the BRICS summit and China’s Foreign Ministry said Beijing considers India-China relations “generally stable.”

India also has historic ties with Moscow, but is on good terms with the US, too. Modi is hoping to use his country’s influence to bridge gaps between the wealthy nations that have been standing together to sanction Russia over the Ukraine war and the group of countries known as the Global South.

About half of the G20 countries are found in that group – depending on how one defines it – and Modi hopes to add the African Union as a bloc member.


In preparation, he held a virtual “Voice of the Global South” summit in January and has emphasized issues critical to developing nations, including alternative fuels like hydrogen, resource efficiency, developing a common framework for digital public infrastructure and food security.

“For the Global South, India’s presidency is seen as an opportunity with immense potential to address developmental needs, particularly as Brazil and South Africa are set to take over the presidency of the G20 from India in 2024 in 2025 respectively,” Hussain said.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters before Biden’s departure that the president supported adding the African Union as a permanent member and that the president hoped this summit “will show that the world’s major economies can work together even in challenging times.”

The US will also focus on many of Modi’s priorities, including reforming development banks like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Sullivan said. Biden will also call for “meaningful debt relief” for low- and middle-income countries, and seek to make progress on other priorities including climate and health issues.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday dismissed suggestions that the proposals are designed to counter China’s global lending and investment through its so-called Belt and Road Initiative.


Michel, the EU council president, said he had hope the summit would be productive.

“I do not think the G20 will resolve in two days all the problems of the world,” he said. “But I think it can be a bold step in the right direction and we should work to make it happen and support the Indian presidency.”

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Where to stay in India? Here are 8 former palaces that are now hotels

The Maharajas of India’s past built magnificent palaces as a symbol of their power.

But in 1971, India abolished “privy purses,” or governmental payments made to these rulers. Several of them transformed their vast estates into heritage hotels, or leased them to renowned hotel chains which carefully restored them to their former glory.

From the eastern state of Odisha to Rajasthan in the north, here are eight regal retreats where travelers can live like kings and queens.

Jehan Numa Palace in Bhopal, which has a neoclassical style and a 19th-century exterior.

Jehan Numa Palace.

Source: Jehan Numa Palace

This pristine white building was built by General Obaidullah Khan, son of the last ruling Begum of Bhopal, and transformed into a 100-room hotel by his grandsons in the 1980s. The hotel contains salvaged original artifacts and Raj-era photos as well as modern luxuries, such as a palm-lined pool and Chakra spa services.

Its palatial charm lingers among the racehorses that gallop around the track encircling the hotel. Travelers can dine on Italian and Mediterranean cuisine here, but Indophiles opt for the hotel’s legendary Bhopali fare prepared from secret palace recipes in a restaurant named Under the Mango Tree.

Haveli Dharampura was meticulously restored over six years under the leadership of the prominent political figure Vijay Goel.

Haveli Dharampura.

Source: Heritage Dharampura

It’s now a 14-room boutique hotel, which received an honorable mention in 2017’s UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The atmospheric Mughal-era hotel has red sandstone-arched colonnades, a marble courtyard, Arabesque tile-work and intricate stone and wood details that echo the opulence of yesteryears.

The in-house Lakhori restaurant prepares historic Mughal recipes, while the breezy rooftop provides a delightful setting for drink-in-hand lounging while listening to the muezzin’s call from the nearby Jama Masjid — a soul-stirring reminder that you are in the heart of Old Delhi.

The hotel has guided heritage walks, kite-flying and high tea on the roof terrace, and kathak performances on Saturday and Sunday, where guests can enjoy an evening of Indian classical dance.

Taj Lake Palace boasts domed pavilions, ornamental turrets, crystal chandeliers, and 83 antique-filled rooms and suites, some which overlook a gleaming courtyard that hosts nightly folk dances.

It has four dining options serving globe-trotting menus, a spa boat and butler service.

this hilltop hotel has 60 rooms and suites, which increase in lavishness as you move up its room classes.