Flashback 2018: Top 6 developments in international politics
Washington, Dec 27: The year 2018 was an eventful in the realm of international politics. From US President Donald Trump's antics continuing into the second year of his tenure to his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the relentless chaos over Brexit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's informal meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan, the list of notable events is long.
Here we pick six top developments in international affairs that made the headlines in 2018:
Trump meets Kim in Singapore, June 12
This was perhaps the most eye-catching development in international affairs in 2018. After months of diplomatic parleys and even scare of cancellations, the US president eventually met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Capella Hotel in Sentosa, Singapore. The photo-ops were perhaps made more impact than the actual meeting since the agreement the two leaders signed after the meeting did not offer anything concrete over denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. But nevertheless, this summit was something that gave a big push to peace in the volatile Korean Peninsula.
Modi meets Xi Jinping in Wuhan, April 27-28
PM Modi has met Chinese President Xi Jinping on a number of occasions since taking over his office but the meeting in the city of Wuhan in China's Hubei Province was significant since it was the first time since the Doklam stand-off in 2017 that the leaders of the two countries met and spoke over a plethora of issues in an informal manner, sharing each other's viewpoints of matters of bilateral and global significance. Since this summit and thanks to other factors, India's relation with China has progressed positively.
US pulls out of nuclear deal with Iran, May 8
In what constituted one of the most important episodes in international politics in 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear deal with Iran which was reached by Washington and a number of other countries in 2015, during the tenure of his predecessor Barack Obama. The deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, involved five permanent members of the UN Security Council besides Germany. Under the deal, Iran had agreed to halt its nuclear programme in lieu of relief from economic sanctions. But Trump felt that Tehran was only taking undue advantage of the deal and threatened to re-impose crippling sanctions on Iran besides asking other nations to curb oil trade with the West Asian country.
Brexit chaos continues
The Brexit pandemonium was not something that started in the outgoing year and has been continuing since the referendum took place in the UK to leave the European Union in June 2016. However, the year 2018 was significant especially from the UK's point of view as its domestic politics witnessed a complete disarray over the impending Brexit in March 2019. Several top officials of the Theresa May government resigned over her policy, especially the Chequers Plan outlining the nature of relationship the UK will have with the EU after Brexit and the prime minister herself survived a no-confidence motion in her divided party. There were even calls for holding another referendum though they were nullified, signifying the complete mess British politics has found itself to be in.
India buys S-400 Triumf missile shield systems from Russia, Oct 5
Though this pertained to the bilateral relations between two old allies in international politics, but India's signing a deal worth $5.43 billion to buy five Russian S-400 Trimuf missile shield systems at the 19th India-Russia annual bilateral summit in New Delhi during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin had global repercussions. India braved American warning which has passed a law to penalise countries setting up trade ties with its enemy nations like Russia, Iran and North Korea to buy the military hardware and yet evaded Washington's wrath eventually to show its diplomatic skill in balancing between two big powers.
India and Pakistan attend Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit as full time members for first time, June 9-10
The 18th summit of the SCO, a security platform, in the Chinese city of Qingdao, was significant since it saw two South Asian powers of India and Pakistan attending it as full-time members for the first time. The two nuclear powers joined the SCO as full-time members at the Astana summit in Kazakhstan in June 2017, taking the total number of members to eight (Russia, China and four Central Asian Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were already members). The joining of India and Pakistan meant SCO became a major international organisation in terms of population, economy and military might besides geopolitics. Along with BRICS in the economic sphere, SCO is now set to assume bigger significance in the strategic and security spheres.