Jun. 29 – The United States exempted both China from its sanctions targeting Iran’s oil exports on Thursday, just hours before the deadline. While explaining its decision, the U.S. State Department stated that China had significantly reduced its imports of Iranian crude, and thus like 19 other countries, deserved to be exempted from the rigors of the sanctions.
The Obama administration has now spared 20 of Iran’s major oil buyers from its sanctions. Without exemption from these sanctions, any nation that makes energy purchases through Iran’s central bank would be denied access to the U.S. financial system. The goal of the sanctions is to choke off Iran’s oil revenues, which is the life-blood of its economy and the main source of income that funds its nuclear development program. Continue reading
Jun. 28 – China and Vietnam are once again feuding over the South China Sea as Beijing fails to make progress with its neighbors on issues of territorial sovereignty in the region.
Vietnam recently passed a new law that claims indisputable sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly islands, to which China quickly expressed outrage.
“Vietnam’s Maritime Law, declaring sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Paracel and Spratly islands, is a serious violation of China’s territorial sovereignty,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
China further reinforced its claims by increasing the level of governance on the disputed islands.
The situation has now escalated further with China’s state-ran oil firm, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), offering nine new oil-exploration blocs within Vietnam’s 200-mile economic exclusive zone (EEZ). The nine areas collectively total more than 160,000 square kilometers in size. With oil reserves in the area estimated at 160-210 billion barrels, and gas reserves at 16 trillion cubic meters, energy exploration has proven to be a geopolitical fraught venture. Continue reading
Jun. 26 – According to India’s Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, who spoke at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London on Monday, the Indian Navy will soon attain a retaliatory nuclear strike capability. In reference to the three arms of India’s defense, Verma explained that this was necessary so that India has a credible and invulnerable deterrent nuclear triad in place.
“A retaliatory strike capability that is credible and invulnerable is an imperative. The [Indian] navy is poised to complete the triad, and our maritime and nuclear doctrines would then be aligned to ensure that our nuclear insurance will come from the sea,” Verma said during his address. Continue reading
By Ian Bhullar
Jun. 25 – Indian policymakers see China’s state-supported model of acquiring commodities abroad as a barrier to India’s own pursuit, according to an article published in the Business Standard last week.
China’s acquisition of mineral resources is supported with extensive financial and diplomatic infrastructure, including favorable loans from state-owned banks, direct government underwriting, foreign aid and multilateral initiatives like the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Amongst many deals of this kind, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation in 2005 bought the former Soviet Union’s largest oil company, Petrokazakhstan; in the same year the Chinese government awarded US$2 billion of loans to Angola in exchange for oil deals. Continue reading
Op-ed Commentary: Nicholas Clement
Jun. 21 – Iran has commonly been labeled as a rogue state by Western powers with the country’s pursuit of nuclear power being deemed a threat to global society, and something that must be addressed immediately. While Tehran insists that the development of its nuclear capacity is only for peaceful purposes, the U.S. and its allies fear that Iran is developing nuclear weaponry. Thus the United States and the European Union have drawn up sanctions (currently scheduled to come into full force at the end of this month) that aim to pressure Iran into curtailing its nuclear development. Under the U.S. sanctions, foreign financial institutions that are doing business with Iran’s central bank to purchase energy will be barred from U.S. financial markets. The EU has similarly drafted sanctions that will ban shipments of Iranian crude. Continue reading
Jun. 20 – China’s largest energy firm, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), and India’s flagship oil and gas explorer, Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), have signed an agreement to jointly explore potential energy assets overseas. China and India hope to combine their financial resources and expertise to better secure energy supplies for their rapidly-expanding economies.
This is not the first time there has been cooperation between China and India’s chief oil producers. In 2006, CNPC and ONGC agreed to a series of pacts covering all segments of the oil industry. These pacts, however, never manifested into an efficient working relationship. India’s Junior Oil Minister R.P.N. Singh conceded that cooperation has been slow as “there has been no sharing of information on crude purchases by the oil companies of the two sides.” Continue reading
June 19 – In order to overhaul the situation of persistent unemployment for low-skilled workers and a shortage of high-skilled workers in India, the government must provide job-relevant vocational training to at least 285 million working Indians, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) said in a report released last week.
According to the report, India and the other emerging economies of South Asia and Africa will replace China as the new global source of mid-level workers with secondary education. However, the report also noted that by 2020, there could be as many as 58 million surplus low-skilled workers in the Indian market. Over the past decade, 41 percent of India’s job creation was in low-skilled construction, compared to 16 percent in China. If the current trends persist, by 2020, there will be 340 million workers without secondary education in India alone. Continue reading