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UPSC Current Affairs: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan seek to ease cross-border tensions

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II- International Trade

Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan seeks to ease cross-border tensions

Context: a ceasefire has been announced at the Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan border after a day of intense border conflict fight between two nations’ forces. Current conflict started when Tajik officials started installing cameras to monitor the water supply and people of Kyrgyzstan protested it.

Background: both nations have made claim over an area of Kok-Tash (currently located in the western Kyrgyzstan) and water resources situated there. The claim is as old as these nations were part of the erstwhile Soviet Union. A large part of the Tajik-Kyrgyz border remains unmarked, fuelling fierce disputes over water, land, and pastures

Relevant information:

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the independent Central Asian states, among them Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, were established and have retained the borders demarcated in the 1920s under Josef Stalin’s rule. The breakup of the Soviet Union in early 1991 resulted in significant political and socio-economic changes for both the independent Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. During border delineation some difficulties were encountered because the borders between the member republics drawn in Soviet times had a symbolic character. Kyrgyz and Tajik communities had common property rights to access and use natural resources under the system of land tenure based on property rights backed up by Soviet state authorities. Today, and as a result of vague border lines, disputes over border demarcation are the main issue between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The disputes are causing multiple conflicts over access and use of natural resources as water for irrigation purposes and pasture grounds for grazing animals.

Resource access and use clashes between Kyrgyz and Tajik border communities took place in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015. During these years more than 70 incidents in the border areas were reported by local media. Some incidents were even awarded titles as “Apricot war”1 (2004) when several apricot trees were planted on the disputed area by Tajik farmers, where then Kyrgyz inhabitants disputed and removed all those trees. Another incident was called “Ketmen war”2 (2014) when the border communities were fighting using garden tools, stones and burned animal shelters. Often Kyrgyz and Tajik border communities block each other’s roads or block water during the irrigation period, which raises the potential for violent conflicts between the communities. In a conflict that took place in 2014, about 1000 local civilians were involved, including many young people. These conflicts are usually regulated by regular army units from both countries and heavy weapons might be used at any time.

Despite a wide range of activities held by NGOs, donors and other organisations in the border areas aimed at preventing conflicts, tensions on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border have not been mitigated or resolved so far.

 

UPSC Current Affairs: The rising sun in India-Japan relations| Page 06

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II- International Relations.

Sub Theme: Indo-Japan | UPSC

The universal values of freedom, humanism, democracy, tolerance and non-violence shared between India and Japan as elucidated in SAMVAD dialogue constitute the basis for the India-Japan bilateral relationship.

There are several engagements between the two-country evident from initiatives like:

  1. Partnership for Peace
  1. Confluence between Act East Policy (India) and Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy (Japan)
  2. QUAD to secure Indo-Pacific region
  3. Enhanced security cooperation with Malabar Exercise, MINEX etc.
  1. Partnership for Prosperity
  1. Synergizing strengths through’s Innovative Asia’s East-West Economic Corridor and Asia-Africa Growth Corridor
  2. Connectivity through North East Road Network
  1. Partnership for Global Action
  1. UNSC Reforms in shape of G4
  2. Shared commitment in total elimination of nuclear weapons
  3. Growing collaboration in achieving SDGs
  4. Concerted global action to combat climate change in line with the Paris Agreement

India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership holds immense promise for the future of the two countries as they jointly endeavour to build a more secure, peaceful and prosperous region and the world.

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