Mckinsey career progression

by Chirag Sharma on June 25

Mckinsey & company is a global management consulting firm with a revenue of $10.9 billion (as of 2019). It assists Leading Businesses, Governments and Non-government organisations. It is the largest and most prestigious of the ‘Big Three’ management consultancies (MBB), the world’s three largest strategy consulting firms by revenue. This is the result of their early and continuing success in upholding extremely high standards. Anybody aiming towards consulting and getting to join Mckinsey is a dream come true for them. 

Traditional progression at Mckinsey from bottom to top is-

1.Analyst                                                        2.Associate                                       3.Engagement manager 4.Associate partner                                      5.Partner

Every firm has a different name for the same type of role, the difference is merely in naming. In most consulting firms moving from one position to another takes 2 to 3 years. In Mckinsey, it normally takes two years. 

Responsibilities at each level

1.Analyst (McK & ATK) / Associate (BCG & Bain)                                    Undergrads enter the firm at this level. They handle smaller work fields like— gathering data/information, analysing it and delivering it via presentation and support their senior consultants. They are guided by Associates and managers. 

2. Associate (McK & ATK)/consultant (BCG & Bain)                                  MBA grads enter the firm at this level. They own a functional area of a project. They oversee the work of analysts and develop the project deliverables of their specific stream. From the associate level, consultants interview candidates. 

3. Engagement manager (McK)/case team manager (BCG)/manager( Bain)/project manager (ATK)                    They are responsible for planning, executing and delivering a project. Their work includes leading teams, coordinating with all project stakeholders (clients) and resolving issues. They are expected to participate in internal events and assist business development opportunities. 

4.Associate partner(McK)/junior partner(Bain)/principal(BCG & ATK) They are in charge of selling projects to clients. They own the project delivery and manage numerous projects at once. 

5.Partner                           They are less involved in the everyday execution of a project. Their main focus is on high-level strategy. A big part of their work is dedicated to selling consulting assignments to both existing and new partners. 

Salary of consultants at Mckinsey 

The salary of consultants depends on various factors such as— their job location, the firm they are working with and the post they are working on. 

In a huge firm like Mckinsey pay starts a little bit lower and then rises beyond the level of BCG. 

Salary at Mckinsey in the USA 

At the undergraduate level – The base salary is $83000 plus a performance bonus of $ 18000 max plus a signing bonus of $5000 plus relocation assistance up to $10000.

At MBA level and for experienced candidates – The base salary is $152500 with a performance bonus of $35000 max plus a signing bonus of $25000 plus relocation assistance up to $9000. 

Salary at Mckinsey in Europe

At the undergraduate level, the base salary is € 50000 plus a bonus ranging from €1000 to €2000.                                  At the Masters level, the base salary is €70000 plus a bonus of €12000 plus a company car. ( Mckinsey company car policy is not that great. ).  At the MBA or PhD level, the base salary is €105000 plus a bonus of €20000 plus a company car. 

Salary at McKinsey compared to a bit lower firms in terms of revenue 

In firms like Roland Berger and Simon Kucher & partner, the starting salary at the undergraduate level may be higher than that of the Mckinsey but at higher levels, Mckinsey has impressive salaries to offer.                                            In Europe, Roland Berger offers a base salary of €58000 to an undergraduate with up to a 10% bonus. At the MBA level, it offers a base salary of €80000 plus a bonus of 15% plus a company car. ( Roland Berger has the best company car policy in the industry ). Whereas Simon Kucher offers a base salary of €45000 to undergraduates with a bonus which ranges from 5 to 10 per cent. At the MBA level, it offers a base salary of €65000 with a bonus of 15% and no company car is provided.    There is no actual data of the salary provided by these companies in the US. This may be because Roland Berger and Simon Kucher do not have a strong foothold in the USA. 

(NOTE: This salary data is of 2019 and  data of salary in Europe is verified but the data of salary in the US is taken from Google and isn’t verified.)  

Salaries at Partner level 

At the level of Junior Partner/ associate partner salaries can range from $500000 to $ 1 million ( it varies a lot). At the level of Senior Partner or Partner, salary can range from 1 million dollars to 5 million dollars. At the partner level bonus varies a lot which makes the salary bracket at this level much bigger. For instance, the base salary at the partner level range from $200K to $500K, depends you are a senior or junior but the bonus can range from $200K to $ 5 million. This bonus relies on various factors such as –                                        • How much business a partner brings in.           • company’s performance and the role he played.                                                      • His/Her contribution to the firm like in the events, programmes etc.       

In the end, salaries provided by the firms at the undergraduate level doesn’t matter, what matters is that, either the firm is providing you with a long term benefit or not. Though salary is an important aspect of a job, people should also look at other aspects such as work-life balance, the lifestyle it offers and the work culture of the company. At last, it’s about what kind of life you want to make out of that job.  Mckinsey has achieved higher scores in areas of — overall rating, career opportunities, compensation & benefits, senior management, culture & values, CEO approval and positive business outlook but some firms offer better work-life balance than Mckinsey. There is no doubt Mckinsey is one of the most well-recognised brands in the world and having Mckinsey name on your resume is all someone would want.  

Frequently asked questions 

Q1. Is it faster to make it to the partner or director level at MBB?         Ans- It depends on various factors:        1. Unwavering focus & commitment        2. Your clear expertise and client network           3. Team fellowship I.e. junior people are eager to work with & for you            4. Solid channel of work and this will happen depending upon geography, demand, economy etc.                                 If you get it all right it will roughly take you 12-15 years from analyst to partner at MBB. 

Q2. What’s better for my future consulting career: masters or MBA?            Ans- There are three options after someone completes his/her bachelors –            1. Go for masters and then consulting and potentially an MBA later                                  2.Go for consulting work experience and then do an MBA and continue consulting       3. Go for a non-consulting work experience and then do an MBA   option 1 can be a great option. You can do a MIM in strategy management from a reputed university and then can apply for the consulting firms and if in future you would want to do an MBA then usually the firm you are working with will bear your expenses. Option 2 can be a bit challenging as it is very difficult to get a job in consulting after my bachelors and without prior work experience but it’s not impossible. you can try for the job if you get it you are good to go if not you can opt for masters. Option 3, however, makes it more difficult for you to join a consulting firm, as there are fewer openings for MBA’s compared to new graduates and only for top selected MBA. The cost of an MBA is also much higher than that of Masters ( like MIM or MSc in management). 

Q3. Does Mckinsey offer internships? Ans- yes Mckinsey do offer internships. There are a business analyst and associate internships among others. For those who are currently pursuing a degree. The typical timing for internships at Mckinsey is 10 weeks in summer and there are also opportunities to intern for fewer weeks during spring or fall. This timing varies around the world and based on your position as well as your current background. Interns work on a client engagement as a full member of the Mckinsey team.

The truth about ‘Vampires’

We all are fascinated by vampires. We have seen them in movies, over TV serials ( vampire diaries)  and they are also the subject of countless Vampire books. But are they real or just fiction? while even most Vampire Admirers recognise vampires as fictional being, there was a time when people had real fears about falling prey to these creatures of the night. Long ago, before the days of the emotional debate on the merits of Team Edward vs Team Jacob, people devoted a lot of time and energy to keep their lives safe from these bloodsuckers. These creatures of the night are still having a very real impact on people’s lives today.

This 700-year-old skeleton from Sozopol, Bulgaria, was found with its teeth removed and stabbed through the chest with an iron rod. Scholars suspect that townspeople did this to ward off vampires—a very real fear in Europe for hundreds of years.

Vampires are evil beings who roam the world at night searching for people whose blood they feed upon. Most people associate vampires with Dracula, the legendary, blood-sucking subject of Bram stalkers Epic novel, Dracula. But the history of vampires began long before Stoker was born. There are many characteristics of vampires but the main characteristic of Vampires is they drink human blood, drain their victim’s body using their sharp fangs, killing them and turning them into a vampire. In general, vampires hunt during the night because it is believed that sunlight weakens their powers. They may have the ability to morph into a bat or a wolf. Vampires have super strength and often have hypnotics sensual effect on their victims. People believe that they can’t see themselves in the mirror and cast no shadow. (obviously not according to the Vampire Diaries).

The Myth

Every culture has its own type of Vampire myth, it’s hard to find the exact time, the idea of Vampire was created but to get to the origin of the modern Vampire legend we have to go back to 15 century Romania to Vlad Dracula also known as ‘Vlad the Impaler’. Vlad Dracula was born in Transylvania, Romania he ruled Walachia, Romania, off and on from 1456-1462. Some historians describe him as — yet brutally cruel ruler who valiantly fought off the Ottoman Empire. According to legend, Vlad Dracula enjoyed dining next to his dying victims and dipped his bread in their blood. The truth of these tails is unknown. While Vlad was a killer, he wasn’t a vampire, but he did inspire author Bram Stoker to name his famous vampire character ‘Count Dracula’ In his 1897 book. But, according to Dracula expert Elizabeth Miller, stoker didn’t base “count Dracula’s” life on Vlad Dracula. Nonetheless, the similarities between the two Draculas are intriguing. Throughout the centuries there have been several “Vampire scares” often tried to widespread disease like the European Plague or misunderstood physical deformities. Eric Nuzum in his book posits that people’s belief in vampires helped them define things they didn’t understand and couldn’t explain—namely death and disease.

Are vampires real?

These legends arose from a misunderstanding of how bodies deteriorate. As a corpse’s skin shrinks, its teeth and fingernails can appear to have grown longer. And as internal organs break down, a dark purge fluid can leak out of the nose and mouth. People unfamiliar with this process would interpret this fluid to be blood and suspect that the corpse had been drinking it from the living. The bloody corpse wasn’t the only cause for suspicion. Before people understood how certain diseases spread they sometimes imagine that vampires are behind the unseen forces slowly ravishing their communities. Mark Collins Jenkins writes in his book that trying to kill vampires or prevent them from feeding was a way for people to feel as though they had some control over disease because of this vampires scare tended to coincide with outbreaks of plague. In 2006 archaeologist unearthed a 16-century skull in Venice, Italy that had been buried among plague victims with a Brick in his mouth. the brick was likely a burial tactic to prevent Italian vampires or witches from leaving the grave to eat people. By the 17th and 18th century tales of vampires continue to flourish in Southern Eastern European Nations pop bandit declare that vampires were malicious functions of human fantasy and Hapsburg ruler Maria Theresa condemned Vampire believes as superstition and fraud. Still, anti-vampire efforts continued and perhaps most surprisingly all one of the last big Vampire scares occurred in the 19th century New England two centuries after the infamous Salem witch trials.

An incident!

Mercy was a real person. She lived in Exeter, Rhode Island and was the daughter of George Brown, a farmer.

After George lost many family members, including Mercy, in the late 1800s to tuberculosis, his community used Mercy as a scapegoat to explain their deaths. It was common at that time to blame several deaths in one family on the “undead.” The bodies of each dead family member were often exhumed and searched for signs of vampirism.

When Mercy’s body was exhumed and didn’t display severe decay (not surprising, since her body was placed in an above-ground vault during a New England winter), the townspeople accused her of being a vampire and making her family sick from her icy grave. They cut out her heart, burned it, then fed the ashes to her sick brother. Perhaps not surprisingly, he died shortly thereafter.

The real vampires

people who call themselves vampires do exist. They’re normal-seeming people who drink small amounts of blood in a misguided effort to stay healthy.

Communities of self-identified vampires can be found on the Internet and in cities and towns around the world.To avoid rekindling vampire superstitions, most modern vampires keep to themselves and typically conduct their “feeding” rituals—which include drinking the blood of willing donors—in private.

Some vampires don’t ingest human blood but claim to feed off the energy of others. Many state that if they don’t feed regularly, they become agitated or depressed.

Vampires became mainstream after Dracula was published. Since then, Count Dracula’s legendary persona has been the topic of many films, books and television shows.

Ten countries to immigrate easily

Relocating and settling down in a new country is an exciting thought for many among us but immigration rules vary from country to country. Every country in the world has certain methods for accepting immigrants to live in their country. The process can range from paying certain fees, taking relevant test, interviews, learning the native language of the country etc. So here are the 10 best countries to immigrate to easily.

1. Canada 🇨🇦

Canada is the first country that comes to mind before deciding to move abroad because Canada is among the friendliest countries in the world and one of the easiest countries to immigrate to, as well as one of the safest to live in. The scenery is stunning throughout, with great outdoor living opportunities. Canada also offers superb Healthcare and education making it ideal for families on the move. The best way to get started with your application begins by using an immigration agent, skilled workers get priority in the country. The authorities look at four categories these include qualification, knowledge of English, a job offer in Canada and ability to adapt to the ways of the country.

2. Germany 🇩🇪

Germany is a strong economy and boasts the lowest levels of unemployment in the EU. The first world country offers an excellent level of education and its universities are among the best in the world. With a choice of great cities like Berlin, Munich and Hamburg, as well as beautiful scenery and fairy tales Castles, Germany has a strong draw for immigrants. Commonly approved visa go to family reunification, business investment, employment offers and study. In all cases financial stability proof is required, once again skilled workers are preferred.

3. New Zealand 🇳🇿

With its forward-thinking government, New Zealand is a great country to move to. there are two islands to choose from North and South Island both of which have great cities, quaint towns and stunning surroundings scenery. The country also has an excellent public health care system offering free or heavily subsidised medical care, making it popular for families and placing it among the easy countries to immigrate to. For citizenship, you must have been a resident for at least four years and only travelled out of New Zealand for a short amount of time each year.

4. Paraguay 🇵🇾

Paraguay attracts retirees to South America. Low cost of living and low taxes and the landlocked countries stable economy stretches their pensions and lets them live in relative comfort. Paraguay is also a subtropical country with beautiful scenery and landscapes. What makes getting permanent residence easy is that you only need to have 4000 dollars in the bank to move there. The cash deposit in the Paraguay Central Bank. The best way to get into the country is to set up a company or purchase agricultural land for business. If your application gets granted, you may not remain outside the country for more than 3 years.

5. Singapore 🇸🇬

Singapore is also great for entrepreneurs and is the second easiest country in the world to do business. However, you need to find a job first to apply for permanent residence Singapore is among the most developed countries in Asia and offers reasonably liberal immigration and citizenship rules. Qualified people who expect to earn more than 2000 a month are more likely to qualify. Also, the country is not keen on employing unskilled workers. So you must have a certain set of skills to qualify for citizenship.

6. Brazil 🇧🇷

This is one of the largest countries in South America. It is a rich country with sweet cultural diversisty. There are super amazing and breathtaking sites in Brazil like the amazing rainforest and golden branches. The country is notable for its kind and hospitable treatment of foreigners. One of the quickest and easiest ways of obtaining residency in Brazil is proofs of your fixed monetary income. Ordinarily, to obtain Brazilian citizenship, you must have stayed and worked in the country for four years and have a sufficient understanding of the Portuguese language.

7. Panama 🇵🇦

When you are considering a country with easy immigration policies Panama is a great choice. Panama uses the US dollar for transactions within the country. You can get their long term retiree visa as long as your monthly income is within the range of one thousand dollars. For those within their younger age range, all you need to do is deposit five thousand dollars in a Panamanian bank account. This qualifies you for an initial process for applying for a friendly nation visa. The process of applying for Panamanian citizenship is also quite easy. You need to have lived for four years as a resident in the country.

8. Mexico 🇲🇽

Mexico offers a great standard of living and an excellent health care system. Along with wonderful coastal resorts. The country offers a variety of visas and permits spending on where you are moving from. However, if you hail from the USA, western Europe or other areas of Latin America you can stay visa-free for up to 180 days. Citizenship in Mexico requires a minimum of three consecutive years of residency in the country.

9. Norway 🇳🇴

Norway offers a good standard of living along with excellent free education. On top of this, the country has been rated as one of the happiest places to live in the world and is known for people’s good health and healthy longevity. Norway’s immigration rules tend to not be very strict making the process relatively easy. However, note that four categories exist for immigrants. These include work offers, education permits and family reunification. The top priority goes to families reunification. Norway is considered to be safe and is ideal for bringing up a family.

10. Argentina 🇦🇷

Argentina is a great place to live with vast and beautiful landscapes, Modern cities and some of the best beaches in the world. Argentina offers a low cost of living and excellent opportunities for employment and education. Making it ideal for singles, couples and families. It is also relatively easy to become a resident or citizen here. As long as meet the minimum monthly income set for immigrants. You can apply to become an Argentina citizen if you are over 18 yrs old and have been living in Argentina for 2 years.

What happened during the Salem witch trials

Salem witch trials (June 1692- May 1693), In American history series of investigations and persecutions, caused 19 convicted witches to be hanged and many other suspects to be imprisoned in Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (now Danvers, Massachusetts).

The events in salem in 1692 were only one chapter in a long story of witch hunts that began in Europe between 1300 and 1330 and ended in the late 18th century (the last known execution for witchcraft taking place in Switzerland in 1782). The salem trials occurred late in the sequence. The hunts were efforts to identify witches rather than pursuits of individuals who were already thought to be witches. Witches were considered followers of satan who had traded their souls for his assistance. It was believed that they employed demons to accomplish magical deeds. There is a little doubt that some individuals did worship the devil and attempt to practice sorcery with harmful intent. The process of identifying witches began with suspicions or rumours. Accusations followed, often escalating to convictions and executions. The salem witch trials came out as a result of church politics, family feuds and hysterical children all of which unfolded in a vacuum of political authority.

There were two Salems in the late 17th century: a bustling commerce-oriented port community on Massachusetts Bay known as Salem Town and roughly 10 miles inland from it, a smaller, poorer farming community of some 500 persons known as Salem Village. The village itself had an obvious social divide that was exacerbated by a rivalry between its two leading families, the well-heeled Porters, who had strong connections with Salem Town’s wealthy merchants, and the putnams, who sought greater autonomy for the village and were the standard-bearers for the less-prosperous farm families. Squabbles over property were typical.

In 1689, through the influence of the Putnams, Samuel Parris, a merchant from Boston became the pastor of the village’s congregational church. Parris, whose studies at Harvard College had been interrupted before he could graduate, was in the process of changing careers from business to the ministry. He brought to Salem Village his wife, their three children, a niece, and two slaves who were originally from Barbados—John Indian, a man, and Tituba, a woman.

Parris had shrewdly negotiated his contract with the congregation, but relatively early in his tenure, he sought greater compensation, including ownership of the parsonage, which did not sit well with many members of the congregation. Parris’s orthodox puritan (puritanism: a religious reform movement that sought to purify the church) theology and preaching also divided the congregation, a split that became visible when he routinely insisted that nonmembers of the congregation leave before communion was celebrated. In the process, Salem divided into pro-and anti-Parris factions.

Stimulated by voodoo tales told to them by Tituba, Parris’s daughter Betty (age 9), his niece Abigail Williams (age 11), and their friend Ann Putnam (about age 12), began indulging in fortune-telling. In January 1692 Betty’s and Abigail’s increasingly strange behaviour came to include fits. They screamed, made odd sounds, threw things, contorted their bodies, and complained of biting and pinching sensations.

Looking back with the perspective provided by modern science, some scholars have speculated that the strange behaviour may have resulted from some combination of asthma, encephalitis, Lyme disease, epilepsy,  child abuse, delusional psychosis, or convulsive ergotism. In February, unable to account for their behaviour medically, the local doctor, William Griggs, put the blame on the supernatural. At the suggestion of a neighbour, a “witch cake” (made with the urine of the victims) was baked by Tituba to try to ferret out the supernatural perpetrator of the girls’ illness. Although it provided no answers, its baking outraged Parris, who saw it as a blasphemous act.

Pressured by Parris to identify their tormentor, Betty and Abigail claimed to have been bewitched by Tituba and two other marginalised members of the community, neither of whom attended church regularly: Sarah Good, a short-tempered beggar, and Sarah Osborn (an elderly bed-ridden woman who was scorned for her romantic involvement with an indentured servant). On March 1 two magistrates from Salem Town, John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, went to the village to conduct a public inquiry. Both Good and Osborn protested their innocence, though Good accused Osborn. Initially, Tituba also claimed to be blameless, but after being repeatedly tormented and undoubtedly fearful owing to her status as a slave, she told the magistrates what they wanted to hear that she had been visited by the devil and made a deal with him. In three days of vivid testimony, she described encounters with Satan’s animal familiars and with a tall, dark man from Boston who had called upon her to sign the devil’s book, in which she saw the names of Good and Osborn along with those of seven others that she could not read.

The magistrates then had not only a confession but also what they accepted as evidence of the presence of more witches in the community. Other girls and young women began experiencing fits, among them Ann Putnam; her mother; her cousin, Mary Walcott; and Putnam’s servant, Mercy Lewis. Significantly, those that they began identifying as other witches were no longer just outsiders but rather upstanding members of the community. As weeks passed, many of the accused proved to be enemies of the Putnams, and Putnam Family members and in-laws would end up being the accusers in dozens of cases.

On May 27, 1692, after weeks of informal hearings accompanied by imprisonments,  Sir William Phips, the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, interceded and ordered the convening of an official Court of Oyer (to hear) and Terminer (to decide) in Salem Town. Presided over by William Stoughton, the colony’s lieutenant governor, the court consisted of seven judges. The accused were forced to defend themselves without the aid of counsel. Most damning for them was the admission of “spectral evidence”—that is, claims by the victims that they had seen and been attacked (pinched, bitten, contorted) by spectres of the accused. Those who confessed and named other witches—were spared the court’s vengeance, owing to the Puritan belief that they would receive their punishment from God. Those who insisted upon their innocence met harsher fates, becoming martyrs to their sense of justice. Many in the community who viewed the unfolding events as tragedies remained mute, afraid that they would be punished for raising objections to the proceedings by being accused of witchcraft themselves.

On June 2 Bridget Bishop—who had been accused and found innocent of witchery some 12 years earlier—was the first of the defendants to be convicted. On June 10 she was hanged on what became known as Gallows Hill in Salem Village. On July 19 five more convicted persons were hanged, including Nurse and Good. George Burroughs, who had served as a minister in Salem Village from 1680 to 1683, was summoned from his new home in Maine and accused of being the witches’ ringleader. He too was convicted and, along with four others, was hanged on August 19. On September 22 eight more convicted persons were hanged, including Martha Corey, whose octogenarian husband, Giles, upon being accused of witchcraft and refusing to enter a plea, had been subjected to peine forte et dure (“strong and hard punishment”) and pressed beneath heavy stones for two days until he died.

As the trials progressed, accusations spread to individuals from other communities. On October 3 Cotton Mather’s father,  Increase Mather, an influential minister and the president of Harvard, condemned the use of spectral evidence and instead favoured direct accusations.

On October 29, as the accusations of witchcraft extended to include his wife,  Governer philps once again stepped in, ordering a halt to the proceedings of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. In their place, he established a Superior Court of Judicature, which was instructed not to admit spectral evidence. Trials resumed in January and February, but of the 56 persons indicted, only 3 were convicted, and they, along with everyone held in custody, had been pardoned by Phips by May 1693 as the trials came to an end. Nineteen persons had been hanged, and another five (not counting Giles Corey) had died in custody.

In the years to come, there would be individual and institutional acts of repentance by many of those involved in the trials. In January 1697 the General Court of Massachusetts declared a day of fasting and contemplation for the tragedy that had resulted from the trials. That month,  Samuel Sewall, one of the judges, publicly acknowledged his error and guilt in the proceedings. In 1702 the General Court declared that the trials had been unlawful. In 1706 Ann Putnam apologized for her role as an accuser. Twenty-two of the 33 individuals who had been convicted were exonerated in 1711 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which also paid some £600 to the families of the victims. In 1957 the state of Massachusetts formally apologized for the trials. It was not until 2001, however, that the last 11 of the convicted were fully exonerated.

The abuses of the Salem witch trials would contribute to changes in U.S. court procedures, playing a role in the advent of the guarantee of the right to legal representation, the right to cross-examine one’s accuser, and the presumption of innocence rather than of guilt. The Salem trials and the witch hunt as metaphors for the persecution of minority groups remained powerful symbols into the 20th and 21st centuries.

The secrets of Mount Kailash

How does one explain the fact that avid mountaineers some of whom have climbed Mt. Everest haven’t been able to summit Mt. Kailash? When it is at least 2000 meters shorter in height. Mount Kailash and the adjoining Mansarovar lake have been shrouded in mystery. People say it is the centre of the earth. There is also a debate about Mt. Kailash being a man-made structure.

Standing tall at over 22000 feet, the Tibet Himalayas is one of the worlds most revered holy places. It is sacred to people of four religions. Hindus consider it to be the abode of Shiva, while Buddhists believe it is the home of Demchok an incarnation of the buddha who represents pure bliss. Jains believe it is a site where their first Tirthankara attained liberation. While people of the Bon religion consider it to be the cosmological axis. But, is the religious significance all there is to it? Ancient researchers and even Russians and American scientists believe that this peak is a pyramid, the largest in the world and is located strategically at the centre of the earth! Russian doctor, Ernst Muldashev has gone on to suggest that there are two underground cities located beneath the peak and these are directly related to the gene pool of the entire human race.

Religious texts suggest that the mountain holds supernatural powers and is unclimbable, which so far has turned out to be true. Only one person in the history of mankind is believed to have climbed this peak a Buddhist monk named Milarepa. Who allegedly achieved the feet 900 years ago. Since people haven’t been able to climb the peak, they have settled for doing a circumnavigation of the mountain. Each year thousands of pilgrims set out for the Kailash Mansarovar yatra. They believe that doing the parikrama of the mountain will atone them for their sins and help them achieve spiritual enlightenment. But given the inhospitable conditions, the 52 kilometres long route and extremely high altitude, very few can achieve these feet as well. Is this just about believes or does the mountain hold supernatural powers beyond human understanding? Mount Kailash is said to have been the abode of shiva for the past 21000 years. There’s even shiva protruding out of the mountain. For Kailash Mansarovar yatra 2019, the ministry had received 2,996 applications out of which 2256 were male applicants and 740 by females.

China warns G7 leaders

In a recently leaked communique, the G7 has reportedly called out China on several sensitive issues, including human rights violations in Xinjiang, the autonomy of Hongkong and the unilateral actions in the south china sea. This statement of G7 is in the context of the rising global power of China. China is seen as a threat to the USA’s global dominance. That’s why earlier Donald Trump and now Joe  Biden consider china as the main strategic competitor. Biden has also made a case to take action against China’s economic abuses and human rights violations. Before the statement issued by G7, china had already warned western countries and the group against any move that concerns Chinese interest. For China, the criticism by G7 is a danger to its sovereignty and a manifestation of an “outdated imperial mindset” of the western countries. G7 also said that they are concerned about peace in the Taiwan strait and also want a transparent investigation of the covid origin by WHO.

What is G-7?

Group of Seven (G-7) is an informal political organisation that was set up in 1975 mainly to counter OPEC’s oil embargo. Which now coordinates on global issues. Its member countries are Japan, France, U.K, U.S, Germany, Canada and Italy. Except for Japan, all other members are also members of NATO making the G7 influential. The UN experts have estimated that more than 10 lakh Uyghur people have been sent to detention camps by China and it can be called ‘cultural genocide’. But China has outrightly denied all these acquisitions. China has projected these detention camps mere as a ‘vocational training centre’ and said these centres are to counter extremism. In a UNHRC resolution submitted by 22 nations on human rights violation of the Uyghur population, 33 nations have defended china demonstrating the rising power of China. While mainly the western countries are criticising china on several issues, other countries mainly from Africa and Asia have been defending china. Even Saudi Arabia also backed china which is a strategic Allie of the US. Because of this geographical, geopolitical divide china feels confident against G7.

The dispute G-7 meeting

According to a report of CNN of the G7 meeting, there was a dispute between leaders regarding strategies of countering China because of which internet of the meeting room was shut down. It was seen that there was a disagreement between European nations and the US, UK and Canada. European nations talked about cooperating with China whereas the US, UK and Canada talked about countering China. They agreed only on one decision about alternate infrastructure project to counter BRI. This symbolises China’s rising power and its diplomatic victories. The opposition of the US by its allies itself demonstrates the challenges for the US foreign policies concerning China.

Pakistan to punish Facebook for supporting India

Nowadays, a hot topic in Pakistan is about punishing Facebook because Facebook is supporting India regarding the Kashmir issue. All this because facebook had a massive crackdown on anti-India propaganda done by Pakistan.

What happened?

Chairman of the parliamentary committee on Kashmir Shahryar Khan Afridi directed the chief of Pakistan telecommunication authority (PTA) to take legal action against Facebook over the selective steps it took against Pakistani and Kashmiri social media activist. Recently PTA was also in the news because it threatened the Hindu American body over publishing a website on the genocide of Bangladeshi’s in 1971 by the Pak army. In Pakistan, Facebook reported that it removed at least 40 accounts, 28 Instagram accounts and groups, all involved in manipulating domestic public opinion in favour of the Pakistan military and its policies, including on topics such as India and Kashmir. Facebook investigated all the countries that are trying to spread their propaganda on Facebook and found that two countries are manipulating people on a large scale, Pakistan and Russia. They make fake accounts and pages on Facebook and use these pages to spread their propaganda. This kind of work is accomplished by an agency known as ‘Alphapro’, which is a Pakistan- based PR firm. “Key narratives advanced by the network include: praise for Pakistan and its armed forces; efforts to denigrate india and highlight attacks by Hindu nationalists targeting religious minorities and support for Pakistani PM,” said a Graphika report. This step was taken by Facebook on its own seeing the scale of propaganda on Facebook.

The advantage of this type of propaganda is to increase the soft power of Pakistan and reduce that of India. This is a long term strategy. Recently Pakistan has reported the deaths of journalists who spoke against the Pakistani government. There is also a draft law in Pakistan’s parliament that effectively criminalises criticism of the military with a two-year prison sentence and heavy fines. On one side Pakistan is trying to suppress the voice of journalists in Pakistan and on the other hand seeking free speech on Facebook so that it can continue its propaganda.

What happened after Mahabharat

No one told us what happened after the Mahabharat war. Mahabharat is the greatest epic ever written. It has a deeply rooted impact on culture and on the way people behave today. The Kurukshetra war is considered one of the bloodiest war ever fought in human history. What is known is that the Pandavas won and the Kauravas lost. So what exactly happened after the Pandavas won?

After winning the Kurukshetra war the Pandavas are crowned as rulers of Hastinapura. With Yudhishthira leading the affairs. Afflicted Gandhari curses Lord Krishna wishing him and the whole Yadav clan a painful death just like her sons. The Pandavas began to rule Hastinapura for 36 long years. Meanwhile, Gandhari’s curse to Lord Krishna began to work.

Many unpleasant events took place in place in Dwarka. Where Krishna lead an exodus from the entire Yadav’s clan to Prabhas. In Prabhas there is a murderous rebellion among the clan and the Yadav’s end up killing each other to the point of annihilating their entire race. While trying to extinguish the rebellion a hunter mistakenly shoots an arrow at the mortal Lord Krishna and finally kills him.

From then on Lord Krishna merges with Maha Vishnu and leaves his mortal human body. After the demise of Lord Krishna Ved Vyas tells Arjun that the purpose of his and his brother’s lives is over. At approximately the same time Dwaper-yuga is about to end and Kali-yuga is about to start. Looking at the chaos and Adharm that seeps into his kingdom, Yudhishthira crowns Parikshit as a king and the Pandavas along with Draupadi decide to climb the Himalayas as final penance to reach heaven. Lord Yumraj (god of death), in the form of a stray dog, joins them on the way to the top.

As they started climbing the Himalayas they began to die. It starts with Draupadi and Bheema is the last one to die. The reasons for their death are associated with their desires, issues and troubles caused by their pride. Only Yudhishthira who was not proud of anything along with the dog arrives at the gate of heaven over the Himalayas. At the gates of heaven Lord Yumraj disguised as a dog reveals his identity and before letting Yudhishthira enter the sky he takes him to travel through the gallows of hell. In hell, he witnesses his brothers and Draupadi redeem their sins. Lord Indra then takes Yudhishthira to heaven and promises that his brothers and Draupadi will be there. This is how Lord Krishna and the Pandavas left the mortal world.

After that, the kali yuga began which is wrold as we know it ‘Today’.

Three lessons from the Mahabharata

Some people think Mahabharata is a religious text but actually, it is a part of our history. It’s not about religion it’s about stories because stories are the simplest means to learning. Mahabharat is the epic tale of the Kurukshetra War which was fought between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Krishna, the avatar of the Hindu deity Vishnu, guides the Pandavas to victory in this war.

Lesson 1: The real enemy of strength is pride

Today humans have become the most powerful creatures on the planet with the help of technology we have gone beyond the earth, all knowledge is available at one click, can extract oil from the depths of the seas and oceans but still, we have to bend to vagaries of nature. Bheema ( one of the ‘Pandavas’) was the strongest he wasn’t scared of anyone, but one day while Bheema was in exile, a monkey appeared in front of him in the forest. The monkey appeared weak, he was not able to get out of Bheema’s way. Bheema asked the monkey to move his tale as the monkey’s tail was in bheema’s way. The monkey said, “I am weak, I can’t move my tail”. Please move my tail and go your way, the monkey requested. This request angered Bheema. He tried to move the monkey’s tail with his feet, disrespectfully but the tail didn’t move an inch. He kept his mace aside and tried to move the tail with his hands but the tail did not move at all. He used all his strength but even then, the tail didn’t move. Bheema joined his hands in surrender. He realised that this was no ordinary monkey. He realised that this was Hanuman, the son of Vayu. Hanuman appeared in his true form and said to Bheema ” Many people have strength! Some are physically strong, some are financially and some are mentally strong but the moment we start taking pride in our abilities in that movement our pride becomes our downfall”. Some tasks can be achieved with humility not with strength. There is no shame in asking others for help. The tail was just a tool, Bheema’s real hurdle was his ego, his pride. If we cast aside our ego, our pride, our superiority we will be able to progress much faster.

Lesson 2: who is a real friend?

We expect our friends to support us in everything we do. We want their help to hide our mistakes and vices. Karna and Duryodhan (eldest of ‘Kauravas’) were friends too. When Karna’s brothers mocked him, made fun of him that time Duryodhana was the one who supported him. He gave Karna a place by his side and respected him. Karna had vowed that he would be loyal to Duryodhana no matter what. Karna is a very interesting character, we can learn a lot from Karna. So where did Karna go wrong? When Duryodhana burned the Panadav place Karna should have stopped him but he didn’t.

When Duryodhana disrobed Draupadi (wife of the Pandavas) in front of his court Karna should have stopped him but he didn’t. When Duryodhana under the influence of greed set out to kill the Pandavas Karna should have stopped him but he didn’t. Karna fulfilled his promise to support Duryodhana at all times. But this support helped or harmed Duryodhana? Karna as a friend failed, he didn’t fail once, he fAiled multiple times Because he never showed a mirror to Duryodhana. Being loyal in any relationship is a good thing but being blindly loyal can be fatal and ruins the true meaning of a relationship.

Lesson 3: who is the real hero?

Neither Pandavas nor Kauravas were perfect. Pandavas do have flaws and Kauravas also have qualities. But it wouldn’t seem right if the Kauravas won and Pandavas lost. So, why do we want Pandavas to win? There was one big difference between Kauravas and Pandavas, the Pandavas faced consequences of their mistakes, they accepted their mistakes. Sometimes they won, sometimes they lost but they never ran away from their mistakes. On the other hand, Kauravas kept blaming others they never took responsibility for any of their actions. They became victims of their victimhood.

In Satyug, Good and Evil stayed in different worlds. In Tretayug, good and evil stay in the same world. In the Dwaparyug, Good and Evil stayed in the same family. Today in kaliyug, Good and Evil reside in the same person. The great war in Mahabharata is nowhere else but happening within our minds every single day. We are the ones, focused like Arjun, we are the ones, envious like Duryodhan, we are the ones who can also guide like Krishna and we are the ones who can deceive like shakuni ( uncle of Duryodhana).

Mahabharat tries to tell us something that we can have 100 different and damaging faults within us but even with 5 good qualities, we can overcome these faults. This lesson was, is and will always be relevant. There are probably 3000 lessons more to learn from Mahabharata. Mahabharata has been educating us for at least 3000 years, first passed down as oral culture and then through written form. The Mauryan empire maintained written records of Mahabharata 2300 years ago so that they could educate the people because they knew Mahabharata is ‘Panchamveda’. A Ved that can compress knowledge of the other 4 Vedas. Our ancient empires knew the power of stories and about the impact, they can make on society.

Russia to zero its dollar reserve

On 4th June 2021, the finance ministry of Russia has announced the removal of the ‘Dollar’ from the National Wealth Fund. National Wealth Fund is an accumulated fund of oil reserves of Russia. Currently, the dollar accounts for nearly 35% of this fund which is expected to be changed into currencies such as the euro, yuan etc. The total worth of the national wealth fund is $186 billion now will be changed into other currencies. Russia has taken these steps in response to the economic sanctions imposed by the USA in April alleging Russia’s role in the 2020 US elections. The US has also alleged Russia of being involved with large scale computer network hacking and other illegal activities. Due to the sanctions, the US banks and institutional investors cannot invest in the Russian government ruble-denominated bonds. The analysts believe the new set of sanctions may damage the Russian economy to a significant extent. But according to the ‘wall street journal’, the decision to convert dollar holdings into other currencies is Russia’s clear message to the US that it will not fear any of sanctions imposed by the US.

Sovereign wealth funds are state-owned investment funds that help governments in investment, the flow of wealth, crisis management etc. These funds are generally for investment in bonds, stocks, gold and real estate, etc. Almost every big economy maintains one or more national wealth fund. According to the world economic forum, by January 2021, the Norwegian government pension fund is the world’s richest sovereign wealth fund worth $1.1  trillion. China investment cooperation fund is the second richest in the world with a valuation of around $1 trillion.

The emergence of the dollar as a global currency for trade

From 1870 to the first world war, the pound sterling was used extensively across the globe. This period was dominated by the economies of the UK and the US. But between WWI and WWII gold standard collapsed and the importance of the pound sterling also declined. The economic turbulence during the interwar period had made world leaders worried about the future of the global economic system. After the end of the second world war, 700/representatives from 44 countries met in a high-level conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in the united states. The objective of this conference was to create a new global agreeable financial system. The Bretton woods conference established two important financial institutions- the world bank and IMF. This conference also declared the US dollar as an international reserve currency. The reason behind the US dollar being declared as an international reserve currency was its exceptional control over the global gold reserve.

Russia has intensified ‘de-dollarisation’ in the post-2014 period when its relations with the west is continuously deteriorating. With continuous deteriorating US-Russia relations, Russia’s relations with China is substantially improving. Since 2014, Russia is also working on an international monetary transfer system like china. Slowly Russia is decreasing its trade-in dollar and increasing the use of the euro and yuan. Both Russia and China have declared to take joint initiatives to end western dominance on the international payment system and the dependence on the US dollar. On 26th April 2011, Bloomberg reported that the line in global exports, the share of US currency has dropped by as much as 50%.

France fines google $267 million

There’s a new trend getting heat in many countries of problems with big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter. Now recently France fined google 267 million dollars, though this amount is not big enough for a company with revenue of almost 147 billion dollars.

What has happened?

France’s competition watchdog has fined googled 220 million euros ($267 million) for abusing its market power in the online advertising industry. The French competition authority said on Monday ” Google had unfairly sent business to its own services and discriminated against the competition”. Google has agreed to pay the fine and end some of its self-preferencing practices, the watchdog said. The settlement is a final step in a series of events triggered by a 2019 complaint against google’s ad practices by several media companies over tech giant’s ad practices in France. The investigation comes after US-based news corp, French newspaper ‘Le Figaro’ and the Belgian press group ‘Rossel’ filed a complaint against Google. The investigation found that Google gave preferential treatment to its DFP advertising server and its SSP adx listing platform. Isabelle de Silva, president of the French competition authority, said in a statement that the decision is first in the world. She added that the investigation revealed processes by which google favoured itself over its competitors on both advertising servers and supply-side platforms. Isabelle also said that “this sanction and these commitments will make it possible to re-establish a level playing field for all actors, and the ability of publishers to make the most of their advertising spaces. Google announced in a blog on Monday that it will be making series of changes to its advertising technology.

As the changes are only binding in France, it is not yet clear whether Google will also implement them elsewhere in Europe or the rest of the world. Regulators across Europe are clamping down on the major US tech giants amid concerns that they wield too much power on the bloc’s 700 million-plus citizens. Last week Facebook was hit by two antitrust probes from regulators in the UK and Europe. The European Commission has launched probes into Amazon, Google and Microsoft over the last few years, while UK’s competition and markets authority has also launched probes into Google and Apple since it became an independent regulator in its own right in January following Britain’s exit from the E.U. Google also faced an antitrust case in India over abuse in smart TV’s market.

China’s ‘One China policy’

Since international media is putting on a lot of importance to subjects like the QUAD alliance and the New cold war, Taiwan is also attaining importance. Some analysts also suggest countries should enhance diplomatic relations with Taiwan to counter Chinese regional dominance. India following ‘one china policy’ does not recognise Taiwan as a sovereign nation.  The USA a major supporter of Taiwan also does not recognise Taiwan as a sovereign nation. Even China is so aggressive about the Taiwan issue that in May 2021 Chinese state media Global Times threatened Australia with missile strikes regarding Australia’s interference in the Taiwan issue. On several occasions, China has warned India to stay clear of the Taiwan issue.

Taiwan is a tiny island located southeast of China. The government of Taiwan call the island a “republic of China” it also alleged the communist party of China for the forceful occupation of China mainland. Until 1927, the government of China was run jointly by the Chinese nationalist party and the Chinese communist party. But after a split, the Chinese nationalist party (KMT) expelled the communist party and oppressed the communist party leaders. After the end of the civil war in 1949, the communist party emerged victoriously and the KMT party was expelled to Taiwan island where they established their government at the island. Because of the US military support communist couldn’t annex Taiwan ( Republic of China). Since then the govt of the ‘Republic of China’ has been ruling the island from the capital Taipei and mainland China is claimed by both Taiwan led china as well as communist China. Until 1971 Taiwan led china was the official representative of China at the united nations, but the “UNGA resolution 2758” transferred this right to communist china because of improving relation of Beijing with the rest of the world. The USA also got inclined towards China when in 1969 china-USSR war broke out and the US got to see a viable partner to counter the soviet union. 

In 1979, the US recognised Beijing based “the people’s republic of China” (PRC) and withdrew recognition of Taiwan. the US wanted both countries to get recognition as separate countries with different identities. But neither of the two countries were ready to accept this. The increasing influence of communist china has almost isolated Taiwan and currently, only 23 small countries from the Pacific, Africa, and Latin America remember diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Also today the USA is the biggest partner of Taiwan, this support of the US was a strategic decision of the USA to strengthen its bargaining power against China. 

 

India-Taiwan Relations

India officially recognised communist china right after the civil war in China in 1950. India became the second state after Myanmar to do so. This decision was on faith that Beijing can become India’s partner. This policy was based on a dictum that PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee used in his speeches, “you can change friends not neighbours”. This froze India-Taiwan relations during the whole cold war. But after the 1962 sino-India war, India lost initial hopes of good relations with its largest neighbour and became sceptical towards china. After the collapse of the soviet union in 1991, India adopted the ‘look east policy’ seeking improved relations with east Asian countries. This policy gave a diplomatic push to India-Taiwan relations and in 1995 established complementary representative offices, It’s an informal diplomatic relation with Taiwan maintained by the India-Taipei association (in Taipei ) and the ‘Taipei Economic and cultural centre’ (in India). In 2002 India and Taiwan signed a ‘bilateral investment agreement’ and started direct air connectivity in 2003. The then defence minister, George Fernandez also visited Taiwan in 2007. In 2010, reciprocating China’s adverse attitude towards Kashmir, India asked China to acknowledge the” one India policy” after this the informal visits between India and Taiwan became formal. In 2010 Taiwan also hosted then Indian president APJ Abdul kalam in their country. The “southbound policy (2016)” Taiwan emphasised good relations with ASEAN and South Asian countries. After Galwan crisis, India’s relation with Taiwan improved considerably and India appointed Gourangalal Das as envoy in Taipei.

Strategic importance of Taiwan

The geographical location of Taiwan is the most important aspect of geopolitics around it. This can be proved very important for an alliance such as QUAD in near future. ‘Sana Hashmi’, a researcher in the institute of international relations of Taipei recommends stronger relations of India and Taiwan and also highlights its importance in India’s indo-pacific strategy. Donald Trump reinforced his security commitments by increasing the frequency of naval ships in the Taiwan Strait. The second factor of Taiwan’s strategic importance is the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue for china. China’s response is always aggressive when any country tries to indulge in the Taiwan issue. As against india who always followed one china policy, china did not honour one india policy on Kashmir and always supported Pakistan and in the same way, india can make use of Taiwan.

Economic ties between India and Taiwan

According to ‘The Diplomat’ economic dimension is the most important aspect of india-Taiwan relations. During the 2002-2014 period, Taiwan invested 66 million dollars in india but in 2015 the total investment increased rapidly. Taiwanese company Foxconn has invested 5 billion dollars in India. The india-Taiwan bilateral trade was nearly 6 billion dollars in 2016. Taiwan has also been playing significant roles in India’s semiconductors, electronics, and communication industries. Taiwan can also be a good option for countries such as the USA, Japan and South Korea for diversifying crucial supply chains networks and for reducing dependence on China. Despite its tiny size, the economy of Taiwan is 600 billion dollars which is double of Pakistan’s economy. Indian parliamentary standing committee on india-china relations in its report in 2018 has also advocated for stronger Indian-Taiwan bilateral ties.

Now the question arises should India recognise the sovereignty of Taiwan? Seeing the current aggressive behaviour of China on the Taiwan issue, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan of ORF opines that India perhaps will take more time to recognise Taiwan as an independent country.

USA looking for its 400 dead soldiers

The USA wants to find the remains of its soldiers who lost their lives in india during world war II. US and India together have started a huge program for the same. World war II was fought from 1939 to 1945 between Axis powers and allied powers. WW2 is considered to be the biggest war fought in human history and it’s considered that almost 720 million people died in WW2 which is 3% of the population of the world of that time. More Indians died in WW2 than Americans. The total of Indian civilian and military deaths is considered to be between 1.5 to 2.5 million whereas total deaths on the US side were around 418k.

The USA was primarily against Japan in WW2 because Japan was taking control over Indo-pacific very rapidly which became concerning for the US and Japan also attacked pearl harbour in which the US suffered many casualties. Japan took control of the Philippines and many other Asian countries. Japan planned to enter India from Myanmar. In ww2 china, Russia India US were on the same side with many other allies together fighting Japan Germany and Italy on the other side which is very different from today’s world order. Japan was also supporting subash Chandra bose and his ‘Azad hind fauj’. A most important aspect for the USA and Britain was to protect India from going into the control of the Japanese.

So US and UK soldiers fought many wars in northeast India against the Japanese. In March 1944 Japan launched operation U-Go against forces of the British empire in the northeast Indian regions of Manipur and Naga hills ( then administered as Assam). Battle of Imphal was one of the most important wars in the history of world war II. According to the US, many US soldiers died in India and 400 of them were not found. The US also said there are over 81,800 defence personnel of the US who are still unaccounted from the Vietnam war, the Korean war, the cold war and world war II. Recovery mission by the US has been conducted in India since 2008 in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Tripura. In 2016, a team of DPAA and the anthropological survey of India found some evidence of remains of US Army personnel. Recently the US Department of defence joins with the National Forensic Science University (NFSU) in search of 400 personnel missing since WW2.

China’s ‘strategy of encirclement’

China's Maritime Ambitions: a Sinister String of Pearls or a Benevolent  Silk Road (or Both)?

The ‘strategy of encirclement’ is a political and military strategy using which a country can encompass its rival nation with the help of its military bases and friendly territories and isolate its rival nation during the time of war. The encirclement of India by China is said to be originated in 2004 when the ‘ string of pearls ‘ hypothesis emerged for the first time. Under the ‘string of pearls’ hypothesis, china has been building a network of Chinese military and commercial facilities in the Indian Ocean region and trying to improve its relation such that it can be used against India when needed. These facilities stretch from the ‘horn of Africa’ to ‘China’s mainland port’. Many analysts believe that string of pearls, belt and road initiative and debt-trap diplomacy together completes china’s ‘encirclement strategy’. But this strategy of china is only to trap India from all four sides, there are also other ways by which China is trying to counter India one of which is its ‘ three warfare strategy’. Many countries use ‘three warfare strategy’ except India.

China in east africa

The most important Chinese asset in east Africa is Djibouti where China has built a military support base. This base came into existence in 2017. Djibouti is a strategic piece of land located in bab- el-Mandeb, which separates the Gulf of Aden from the red sea and is also a crucial chokepoint that guards the Suez canal. Due to Somalia based piracy problem, other than China, the US France Japan also maintained their respective military base in Djibouti. Other than this there is no official Chinese base in eastern Africa but analyst suspects that China is taking benefit of the economic compulsion of the East African countries and by using its debt-trap diplomacy china is investing a large amount of money in infrastructure projects in East Africa. A report from the centre for strategic and international studies (CSIS) points out that China is involved in 46 seaports in Africa and there is a certainty that Beijing will use these investments in future to enhance its military and political reach.

The Chinese naval activities have been seen at least in 6 seaports in Africa. The most important port in the red sea is Sudan’s ‘port Sudan’ and Eritrea’s port Massawa which are being built by China and operation of port Sudan is in control of China. Other than this Kenya’s port Lamu and Mombasa, and Tanzania’s port dar-es-salaam, maruhubi and mtwara port are also included in this list of ports with increasing Chinese presence.

China in the Persian gulf

Middle East Weekly Roundup: November 16th-20th, 2015 - Journal of Middle  Eastern Politics and Policy

The Strait of Hormuz located in the Persian Gulf is the next chokepoint of trade in the Indian ocean. In this area, Strategically located Oman is also been a nation accepting Chinese investment for a long time. It’s one of the examples here is ‘duqm port’ which earlier was a fishing village, now china is helping oman to make duqm port an industrial city and is planning to invest around $10 billion there. Other than this Yemen, China has signed several important deals in 2012 and 2013 which includes china national corporation for overseas economic cooperation (CCOEC), 3 natural gas-fired power plants and 2 container ports at Aden and Mokha worth $508 million. There is a major power in this region, Iran. After US sanctions on Iran, it has been in search of new economic partners in the region. Meanwhile, China has committed a 400 billion dollar investment in Iran in the next 25 years. It is believed that this deal will bring a positive push to China in middle east.

Role of Pakistan

Pakistan-China flags (File)

Pakistan is considered the biggest security threat to India as it has been a substantial exporter of terrorism in India. Pakistan’s relations with China has been rapidly transformed in the last few years due to its increasing distance from the USA. Pakistan’s most strategic and important point is the port of Gwadar who’s construction rights had been allotted to China for 40 years.

Gwadar port in Pakistan is located near the Indian invested port chabahar in Iran. Gwadar becomes more important because it acts as a crucial link between China’s ambitious belt and road initiative and the maritime silk route.

maritime silk road - INSIGHTSIAS

Under BRI, China Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) will provide direct access to Gwadar port to China. CPEC is already resented by India since it passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (pok). On the other hand, China and Pakistan’s increasing and improving military ties are also a concern to India. SIPRI report underscores that China is Pakistan’s largest arms partner country. The arms import to Pakistan from China has increased from 58.42% in 2009-18 to 69.12% in 2014-18.

China’s influence in Maldives

India's loss in the Maldives is China's gain, and it is showing

The CSIS’s ‘Asia maritime transparency initiative’ report claims that China has also been active in the Maldives for year’s now. Most important here are China’s island development projects in feydhoo finothu, kunaavashi and hulhumalé (which is located near Maldives capital ‘malé’). The Maldives became a cause of concern when the Maldives went through a political crisis in 2018 because of pro china president Abdulla Yameen. But later India felt relieved when in 2019 Maldives elections Ibrahim Mohamed Salih returned to power and Maldives politics was stabalised.

China’s influence in Sri Lanka

China’s debt-trap policy seems most pronounced in Sri Lanka where China has taken over the Hambantota port on lease for 99 years. Recently Sri Lankan parliaments had also passed a controversial Colombo port city bill. This bill will increase the hold of China on Colombo port city. China has also been working on two-hybrid renewable energy plants at ‘nainativu’ and ‘analaitivu’ islands which are located near Indian territory.

China in Bangladesh

After an agreement with Bangladesh in 2017, Chinese companies have purchased three natural gas fields in the country. China would also help Bangladesh to lay down a 220 km pipeline for importing oil to the Chittagong refinery. Bangladesh also granted access to Chittagong and Mongla ports to china in 2019. The Chinese plan to help Bangladesh financially in erecting embarkment for management of the waters of the Teesta river is concerning for India.

But massive protests were held on Friday in Bangladesh to mark the 32nd anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing. Protesters at Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka wear blue masks representing Uighur repression and human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party. These protests can work as a downfall between the relation of both countries as China doesn’t like any nation criticising the human rights violations done by the chinese. The importance of these protests increases as they were held on a very sensitive occasion, on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre which is the deadliest massacre ever performed by a country on its citizens and China wants to remove every aspect of this massacre from the history.

China in Myanmar

COCO ISLANDS IN BAY OF BENGAL

Coco island in Myanmar is strategically most important for China. It is located in the Bay of Bengal around 300kms south of Myanmar. This can be a serious threat to india as gives china a door in the bay of Bengal. The most shocking thing here is ‘coco island’ was a gift from india to Myanmar. It acts as a Chinese electronic intelligence installation in Myanmar. PLA is also been building a military base on Alexandra channel in coco island north of Andaman islands. China has been using the islands since 1994 when Myanmar leased the islands to China. These islands are also very close to the ‘strait of malacca’ which act as a major choke point in the region. It’s an ideal location from where china can monitor India’s naval and missile launch facilities. The development of a deep water port kyaukpyu by China in 2020/has worried india the most. China’s veto in the UNSC on the recent military coup in Myanmar reflects China’s will to strengthen its relationship with Myanmar.

China’s influence in Nepal

China Nepal railway line

After all those areas China’s most important engagement is in Nepal. The pro china PM K.P Oli has encouraged Chinese investment to reduce dependency on India. The most important project is the strategic railway line which connects Tibet’s Lhasa to Nepal’s Kathmandu and further extends to Lumbini, which is very close to India Nepal border. Plus China has started construction of China Nepal friendship industrial park. Which is located in Nepal’s eastern Jhapa district. Recently there is a rumour on the streets of Nepal that K.P Oli( pm of Nepal) is a Chinese agent and he’s been honey-trapped by the Chinese. The brain behind these rumours is of the Chinese ambassador in Nepal. She guided the Chinese secret service to trap PM Oli. This shows the grip of China on Nepal. One of the examples of the hold of China on PM Oli is when china took several villages of Nepal under its control, PM Oli didn’t comment a word against China. 

Tajikistan & wakhan corridor

According to the reports of the ‘Washington Post’, China has set up its second foreign military base 12kms off the Wakhan corridor in the north of India. Wakhan corridor is located on the trijunction of India china and Afghanistan. Currently, it’s connected to pok which is illegally occupied by Pakistan. India’s only foreign military is located at Farkhor in Tajikistan which makes the Chinese base more concerning for India.

India’s counter encirclement

India’s necklace of diamond strategy has been in the news recently. For its success, some Indian ports are important. First of them is the Changi Naval Base of Singapore. Indian navy does have access to this naval base of Singapore since the 2018 agreement which it uses for refuelling. Indonesia has granted access to Sabang port to India for military purposes in 2018. These ports can help in countering Chinese assets in Myanmar. India is also improving its relations with Myanmar and is developing Sittwe port in Myanmar. Indias access to the Duqm port in Oman can be proved crucial go countering Chinese ports located at Persian gulf, the horn of Africa and Pakistan. Indian got access to its Indian air force and the Indian navy here in 2018. Chabahar port of Iran is also being developed by India, but its benefit to India is debatable because of changing political equations. India already has military access to Seychelles and assumption islands in eastern Africa and also operate a coastal surveillance radar system here. It can be used to counter china if in case it gets a military base with a dual facility in east Africa. Other than this India has taken many steps in economic fields like increasing engagement with QUAD. In 2016 the Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has launched an ” expanded partnership for quality infrastructure” ( EPQI) which was supposed to counter China’s belt and road initiative. India has convinced Japan for the Asia Africa growth corridor (AAGC) in 2017 as an alternative to the china maritime Silkroad. With the existence of the USA, Japan, Australia led blue dot network (BDN), EPQI can become a massive project. To counter China’s ambitions against India’s encirclement strategy, india needs to expand its counter encirclement policy rapidly.

Iran won’t be able to vote in the UN

Iran and the Central African Republic(CAR) both lose their voting rights in the 193-member general assembly. The reason was given that they didn’t pay their dues.

United Nations headquartered in New York, needs fund for its functioning as it does not have any source of income of its own. It receives its budget from its 193 member countries. Overall 195 countries are part of the U.N. but 2 countries that are non-member observer states: the Vatican city and the state of Palestine do not provide funds to the U.N. Iran, on the other hand, hadn’t paid any money to the UN for the past few years. So the UN decided to suspend the voting rights of Iran.

The irony here is Iran has money to fund various militant groups in its neighbourhood but does not have money to provide fund to the UN.

According to the secretary-general’s letter, the minimum payments needed to restore voting rights are $16,251,298 for Iran and $29,395 for the Central African Republic.

Irans response

Iran’s foreign minister ‘Javad Zarif’ has put on his tweet on Twitter saying that “we are a victim of US sanctions, they called it US economic terrorism and it’s preventing them from paying off dues of UN. He also stated that Iran is unable to pay for the food they eat.

In a statement released by the ministry of foreign affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, they also stated that Iran is fully committed to fulfilling the financial obligations to the UN and will continue to make every effort to settle the arrears in the payment of its financial contribution to the UN and other international organisations as soon as the underlying imposed condition, i.e the US unlawful unilateral coercive measures, is removed.

So it seems until Joe Biden withdraws sanctions from Iran, Iran won’t be able to vote in the U.N.

5g case judgement

On Monday 31st may actress Juhi Chawla filed a suit in the Delhi high court against the implementation of 5G wireless networks in the country. She has raised concerns over issues related to the impact of radiation on citizens, animals, flora and fauna. Justice C Hari Shankar who was hearing this matter transferred the suit to another bench for hearing on June 2.

what Juhi Chawla has to say in her lawsuit?

Former actress and also an environmentalist filed a lawsuit stating that,

“She is not against the implementation of technology advancements” but added that the concerned departments should certify that 5g technology is safe for humans and also animals and birds. Her major concern here is first government should clear all doubts regarding the safety concerns related to 5g technology then they should proceed in implementing the technology.

status of 5g in India

5g promises to revolutionise mobile broadband and is a big generation leap over the existing 4g technology. This new technology will capable of not just guaranteeing fast internet connections but also help power IoT networks to run connected cars and homes smarter.

But 5g haven’t yet been rolled out in India tough Bharti airtel, reliance jio and vodofone idea have been given trial spectrum to test 5g technology in India. It is expected that 5g will be implemented by the end of 2021 in India.

fears around 5g radiation

The claim is that the more powerful 5g waves will emit more radiation and can cause harm to society.

Also, 5g will require more towers for better connectivity, and since it will power more than just the smartphones it will increase human exposure to such radiations. This is an extension of the idea that cellular towers that emit low-level RF-EMF fafiation are damaging our bodies. Radiation from towers, mobile phones, wifi routers is typically non-ionising radiation like radio waves, microwaves and optical radiation.

WHO’s International Agency for research on cancer has classified RF fields as possibly carcinogenic to human. But it also adds that more research is needed on this subject. They also pointed out various studies, including one conducted by the US National Toxicology Program(NTP), which proved increased cancer growth in rats after prolonged exposure to radiofrequency radiation.

Given the growing concerns, WHO is conducting a health risk assessment from exposure to radio frequencies, covering the entire radiofrequency range, including 5g. This study will be published by 2022.

Do towers negatively impact the environment?

A study done in 2017 published in the journal of entomology and zoology studies have shown that bee colonies have collapsed due to exposure to mobile phone towers and colonies near mobile phone towers were worst affected by electromagnetic radiation.

however, another study published in Science of the total environment in 2019 said more evidence was needed to establish whether such radiations poses risk to bees. It also stated other studies which have made these claims relied on unscientific methods.

Court’s judgement

The court has imposed a Rs 20 lakh fine on Juhi Chawla and called it a publicity stunt. Basic procedures were not followed by her. Under section 80 CPC it is mandatory to serve a notice before the institution of a suit against the government or against a public officer, which was not followed by her. She didn’t comply with section 91, according to which she needed to take permission from the advocate general.

The court also stated that the paragraphs in her petition were also not verified. Court also said they have abused and misused the process of law.

morocco Spain migrant crisis

King Muhammad of Morocco weaponises migration | The Economist

Recently Spain accused morocco of “blackmail” over the Ceuta migrant surge and issues between Morocco and Spain is increasing as every day passes and could result in a diplomatic crisis between both countries. This issue caught headlines when 8000 people started migrating towards Ceuta.

where is Ceuta?

Melilla | Facts, Points of Interest, & Map | Britannica

Ceuta is a coastal city in North Africa that belongs to Spain which also shares a border with morocco. Ceuta has become a flashpoint for migrants from Morocco seeking to enter Europe. Last year around 2200 seek shelter in Ceuta. Ceuta has a population of 85000 and is connected to mainland Spain through ferry services.

How it all started?

Brahim Ghali

When Morocco captured a huge land of western Sahara after a war in 1975 that made its neighbours mainly Algeria, Libya angry and they showed protest against morocco over this invasion. Since then there has been a conflict, neighbouring countries raised a libration group in western Sahara aimed to make Sahara independent from morocco and because of this morocco government is facing difficulty in administering Western Sahara.

The main reason for recent friction between both countries is Western Sahara. What happened is that the leader of the Polisario Front ( liberation group in western Sahara), Brahim Ghali was admitted to a hospital in Spain for his treatment of covid, which made morocco very angry because Brahim Ghali is the reason behind instability in western Sahara and also the one who is leading a libration group in Sahara.

Morocco expressed its anger by threatening Spain of consequences if Spain let Brahim Ghali get treatment in a hospital in Spain. For which Spain replied that “we support you on western Sahara issue but we cannot deny treatment to Brahim Ghali”. When Spain didn’t listen to the government of morocco then morocco decided to open its borders and allow the migrants who want to leave morocco, to seek refuge in Europe. The main strategy of morocco was to let a huge number of people enter Spain through Ceuta and create a refugee crisis in Spain.

It can be said that one man Brahim Ghali, unknowingly, has created a refugee crisis between morocco and spain.

Stance of Spain

Spain has accused morocco of wanting to create a refugee crisis in their country and also blamed them for wanting to collapse the economy of Spain. Spain is not ready to take such a huge number of migrants into their country but has offered some of the migrant’s shelters. European Union has also expressed its concern regarding this crisis and also said it’s not possible to absorb such a huge amount of migrants in this time of the pandemic. Spain has also threatened morocco with military action if they continued to send migrants in huge numbers.

condition of migrants

EXPLAINER: Spain's migrant crisis in North Africa- The New Indian Express

Now because of the tension between the two countries, poor migrants who only want a place to live are being used as pawns for blaming each other by the two countries neither of them is willing to take them in. These migrants do not have a place to sleep and food to eat. This situation is the worst example of the condition of refugees of the whole world.

This whole crisis can end if both the countries show a little humanity for the migrants and handle this situation maturely.