Current Affairs Notes For Upcoming CDS 2 2016 Exam (India and the World)
Current Affairs Notes For Upcoming CDS 2 2016 Exam (India and the World)
With the recent trend followed in the UPSC Pre paper we are lining up the same set of current affairs notes for the CDS/NDA Aspirants
Nobel Prizes 2016
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016
David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz
For theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016
Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa
For the design and synthesis of molecular machines.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2016
For his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016
The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature has not been awarded yet. The date will be set later.
The Nobel Peace Prize 2016
The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize has not been awarded yet. It will be announced on Friday 7 October, 11:00 a.m. CET.
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2016
The 2016 Prize in Economic Sciences has not been awarded yet. It will be announced on Monday 10 October, 11:45 a.m. CET at the earliest.
INDIA and WORLD
INDIA and PAKISTAN
Indian Army carries out surgical strikes on terror launch pads across LoC
Indian Army has successfully conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control () in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) i.e. along India’s de-facto border with Pakistan.
The surgical strikes were India’s first direct military response to attack on Uri army base by Pakistan-based militants that had killed 18 Indian soldiers.
The motive of the operation was to hit out at the terrorists who were planning to infiltrate into the Indian territory. During the operation, significant casualty was caused to terrorists .
The cross-border action comes India reviewed Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan and pulled out of the regional SAARC Summit that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad, Pakistan as part of a wider diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan.
What is surgical strike?
Surgical strike is a military attack which is intended to only damage to the intended legitimate military target and no or minimal collateral damage to surrounding structures, general public infrastructure, vehicles, buildings and utilities.
India will not attend SAARC Summit in Islamabad: MEA
India will not take part in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Islamabad (Pakistan) to be held in November 2016.
This decision was taken in view of the continuous cross border terrorism by Pakistan which has created environment which is not conducive to successful holding of Summit.
In this regard, the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has conveyed to current SAARC Chair Nepal. Besides, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan also have conveyed their reservation about attending the Summit.
India’s reservations over summit
Increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and
Growing interference in internal affairs of member states by one country (not naming Pakistan).
However, India has clearly mentioned that it remains steadfast in commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in an atmosphere free of terror.
India’s decision came in the wake of recent Uri terror attack in which 18 jawans were martyred. It was reported as the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades. Pakistan based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has been blamed for the cowardly attack.
Union Government decides to suspend talks on Indus Waters Treaty
The Union Government has decided to suspend all talks on India-Pakistan Indus Waters Treaty in the wake of the Uri attack.
Decision in this regard was taken by meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was attended by National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, tWater Resources Secretary and senior PMO officials.
Key Highlights of Meeting:-
No review or abrogation of the Indus Waters Treaty.
Decision to utilise water under India’s share to fullest.
Suspend talks on the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), the dispute redressal mechanism until terrorism stops.
Review the 1987 suspension of the Tulbbul navigation project that Pakistan had objected.
Build more run-of-the-river hydropower projects on western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) to exploit full potential.
Expedite construction of Pakal Dul, Sawalkot, Bursar dams in Jammu and Kashmir.
Use 20% of river water allocated under treaty for Jammu and Kashmir farmers.
About Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)
IWT is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan. It brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development).
The treaty deals with sharing of water of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum between the two countries.
It was signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan in Karachi on September 19, 1960.
As per treaty, control over three eastern rivers —Ravi, Beas and Sutlej was given to India. While control over three western rivers — Indus, Jhelum and Chenab was given to Pakistan.
It allows India to use only 20% of the water of Indus river, which flows through it first, for irrigation, power generation and transport. Most disagreements and disputes have been settled via legal procedures, provided for within the framework of the treaty.
The treaty has survived India-Pakistan wars of 1965, 1971 and the 1999 Kargil standoff besides Kashmir insurgency since 1990. It is most successful water treaty in world.
OIC expresses concern over Kashmir violence
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has voiced its concern over alleged excesses of the Indian military and the paramilitary forces in Kashmir.
This issued had surfaced after former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai had “appreciated” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on human rights situation in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
OCI Secretary General of OIC Iyad Amin Madani had quoted that the organisation will continue to expose human rights excesses in the Kashmir Valley.
It will support to Pakistan till the issue is resolved in accordance with the United Nations resolutions and wishes of the people of Kashmir.
OIC’s these comments and support to Pakistan is bound to rile India as it is not for the first that the OIC has spoken about the Kashmir issue against India.
What is Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)?
The OIC is an international organization founded in 1969.
Members: It consists of 57 member states including Iran and Pakistan.
Administrative centre (headquarters): Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Objective: (i) Raise the collective voice of the Muslim world. (ii) Collectively work to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.
OIC has permanent delegations to United Nations and the European Union.
Issues with India: In this organisation, India is a blocked country, though it has about 12% of the world’s Muslim population.
India has been blocked by Pakistan from joining the OIC over Kashmir issue. OIC regard parts of Kashmir as “occupied by India”.
India, Pakistan exchange lists of nuclear facilities
India and Pakistan have exchanged the list of their nuclear installations and facilities under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations.
This exchange is done on 1st of January every year between the two neighbouring countries that bars them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.
This is the 25th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries, the first one having taken place on 1 January 1992.
Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations
It bilateral agreement signed between India and Pakistan that bars them from carrying out any surprise attack (or to assist foreign power to attack) on each other’s nuclear installations and facilities.
It was signed on 31st December 1988 and entered into force on 27 January 1991. It was signed by then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his Pakistani counterpart Benazir Bhutto.
Under it both countries inform each other about their nuclear installations and facilities that need to be covered under the Agreement on 1 January every year.
INDIA and CHINA
India, China hold 1st high-level dialogue to combat terror
India and China have hold the first High Level Dialogue on Counter-terrorism and Security held in Beijing, capital city of China.
The meeting was co-chaired by R N Ravi, Chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and Wang Yongqing, Secretary General of Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of China.
In the high level dialogue both countries discussed on ways to enhance security and cooperation to combat terror.
They exchanged information on respective policies to deal with terrorism, and further enhance their understanding on issues of major concern.
They also exchanged views on the international and regional security situation. It also deliberated on measures to jointly deal with security threats and reached important consensus in this regard.
India, China agree for peaceful negotiations to settle border issue
India and China have agreed to adhere to peaceful negotiations to settle the border issue and reach a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution.
Decision in this regard was taken during the annual 19th round of boundary talks between National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi at Beijing.
Both the sides have discussed the vexed border dispute.
They also had an extensive, deep discussion on the 3,488 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) which remains undemarcated resulting in tensions between the two sides.
Besides the border issue, both sides also have a larger mandate to discuss all contentious bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual concern.
The issue of China putting technical hold on India’s recent bid to bring about a UN ban on Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Azhar for his involvement in the Pathankot terrorist attack was also discussed.
India, China hold first joint tactical drill on border
For the first time, border troops of India and China have held their first joint tactical exercise codenamed Sino-India Cooperation 2016 in Chushul-Moldo in Jammu and Kashmir.
This exercise is complement to the Hand-in-Hand series of India-China Joint Exercises and the recently conducted joint exercise in Sikkim.
Sino-India Cooperation 2016 is mainly focussed on joint actions coordinated to tackle the aspects of humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
It was based on a situation of a national disaster occurring on the border areas and the subsequent rescue mission coordination by joint teams of both countries.
It also part of the ongoing initiatives undertaken by both countries to ensure greater interaction between troops stationed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to ensure peace and tranquillity along the border.
The increased bilateral interaction between Indian and Chinese border troops is considered as very positive step for enhancing confidence and building relations between the two armies.
INDIA and BANGLADESH
President Pranab Mukherjee launches Akashvani Maitree Channel for listeners in Bangladesh
President Pranab Mukherjee launched Akashvani Maitree (Moitree) Channel and its multimedia website in Bengali language for listeners in West Bengal, Bangladesh and the adjoining areas.
Akashvani Moitree Channel is an initiative of Kolkata Akashvani Kendra. It will provide a platform for blending content both from India and Bangladesh and preserving Bengali culture.
The channel will be broadcasted from a state-of-the-art brand new high power 1000Kw DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) transmitter in Chinsurah (West Bengal).
It has capacity to reach the entire length and breadth of Bangladesh through medium wave and will be also available globally on its website and mobile app for Bengali Diaspora.
The concept of the Akashvani Moitree Channel emanates from the decision taken during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh.
Both sides had agreed to share content among their broadcasting organisations in order to broadcast a mix of news and cultural programming.
What is Akashvani Maitree?
The All India Radio (AIR) during the Bangladesh Liberation Movement in 1971 had launched Akashvani Maitree, a Bangla radio service. The channel had played a historic role during the Bangladesh liberation movement. However, it was discontinued in 2010.
Why it is launched again?
The relaunch of Akashvani Maitree is being looked as an outreach to strengthen India’s shaky relations with Bangladesh as a part of its cultural diplomacy.
The service is being re-launched twin objectives: (i) To attract Bengali-speaking listeners from both countries. (ii) To counter the presence of CRI (Chinese Radio International) with its strong presence in the region.
The channel will also play a significant role in promoting and preserving the composite Bengali cultural heritage irrespective of geographical location.
India, Bangladesh ink MoU on Route Permit for carrying Petroleum Goods to Tripura via Bangladesh
India and Bangladesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Route Permit for carrying Petroleum Goods to Tripura via Bangladesh.
The MoU was signed between Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and the Roads and Highways Department of Bangladesh in Dhaka.
The MoU enables IOCL to send its trucks carrying High Speed Diesel, Motor Spirit, Superior Kerosene Oil and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from Meghalaya to Tripura via territory of Bangladesh.
The validity of this facility is till end of September, 2016. Besides, both sides have also agreed to extend the transit facility for a further short period on need basis.
Due to heavy rains in the North-Eastern region during this Monsoon season, the roads, including NH 44, have been affected.
It has resulted in non-plying of goods trucks, including those carrying petroleum goods to Tripura. This has resulted into a situation of scarcity of essential petroleum goods.
With granting access to transit routes Bangladesh Government has shown friendly, multi-dimensional and expanding bilateral relation with India. This friendly gesture is expected to improve the situation of shortage of petroleum products in Tripura.
Railway Ministry launches maiden Agartala to Delhi broad gauge train service
The Union Railway Ministry has flagged off the maiden broad gage train service dubbed as ‘Tripura Sundari Express’ from Agartala (Tripura) to Delhi.
It was flagged off by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. With this, the landlocked north eastern state of Tripura entered the broad gauge railway map of the country.
The ‘Tripura Sundari Express’ will run weekly between Anand Vihar (Delhi) and Agartala (Tripura).
The train service will cover distance of 2461 kms in 46 hours and 50 minutes. It will have commercial stoppages at 16 stations.
The train will leave Agartala for Anand Vihar (Delhi) every Thursday and will leave Anand Vihar for the return journey every Monday.
Besides, the Railway Minister also laid the foundation stone of the Agartala-Akhaura International Rail link Project (India–Bangladesh Board Gauge Rail link Project) along with Bangladesh Railway Minister Mazibul Hoque.
The ambitious India–Bangladesh Board Gauge Rail link Project was mooted in 2012 after both countries signed a MoU in February 2013.
Under this MoU, both countries had decided to create 15.06km railway line of which 10km falls in Bangladesh. India will bear entire expenditure of Rs.968 crore of this project.
This project will be part of the trans-Asian rail connectivity and play an important role in connecting Sabroom, southern most border city of Tripura with Chittagong international sea port which is just 75 km.
PM Narendra Modi, Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurate Petrapole Integrated Check Post
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the Petrapole Integrated Check Post (ICP).
It was inaugurated by both leaders through video-conferencing. Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee also had participated in the video-conference.
Petrapole ICP is located in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. Petrapole is the Indian side of Petrapole-Benapole border checkpoint between India and Bangladesh.
Its commissioning will foster greater economic integration and connectivity between India and Bangladesh.
It is second ICP on India-Bangladesh border after Agartala ICP located at Agartala (India)-Akhaura (Bangladesh) land border.
Petrapole ICP is the biggest land port in South Asia and the largest land customs station in Asia.
Trade worth more than 15000 crore rupees takes place through the Petrapole ICP. This trade is more than all the other Indian Land Ports and Land Customs Stations put together.
The Petrapole ICP will provide better facilities for efficient and effective discharge of functions such as security, customs, immigration, quarantine, etc.
It will also provide support facilities for smooth cross-border movement of persons, goods and transport.
Bangladesh, India sign agreement for joint coal fired power plant
Bangladesh and India have signed an agreement for the construction of a 1,320 megawatt (MW) coal fired power plant near Sundarbans.
The agreement was signed between Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (Pvt) Limited (BIFPCL), the joint venture enterprise and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).
BHEL was selected under an open international tender for constructing the super thermal plant at Bangladesh’s southwestern Rampal near the Sundarbans.
This coal fired power plant is the biggest project under bilateral cooperation between both countries that would mark the transition from electricity export to generation level.
India’s Exim Bank will provide US 1.49 billion dollars for the project and it is scheduled to start generating power in 2019.
The deal came amid concerns by environmental groups that this power plant could affect the delicate ecosystem of the world’s largest mangrove forest in Sundarbans, a world heritage site spreading over both Bangladesh and India.
Earlier Bangladesh had earmarked Maitree Super Thermal Power Project (MSTPP) as one of its fast-track projects. It was started under a bilateral agreement between India and Bangladesh signed during Prime Minister Hasina’s India visit in 2010.
Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura transit facility between India, Bangladesh becomes operational
Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura transit facility under the revised Inland Water Transit and Trade Protocol between India and Bangladesh became operational.
The transit facility was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka in June 2015. It was officially inaugurated on 16 June 2016.
As part of it, the first ship from Kolkata carrying 1000 tonnes of steel and iron sheets reached Ashuganj river port in Bangladesh. From the port the cargo will transit throughout Bangladesh territory to reach its destination in Tripura.
About Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura transit facility
The facility running through a land and river route crossing Bangladesh territory cuts the Kolkata-Agartala distance via Siliguri’s ‘chicken neck’ from 1600 km to 800 km.
It also has reduced the time of the journey from 30 days (via Siliguri corridor) to just 10 days.
It has cut the transportation costs from mainland India to the north-eastern state from 67 US dollars to 35 US dollars per tonne.
However, as per the protocol India pays transit fees of 192.25 dollars per tonne as negotiated between the two countries.
With the formal inauguration of the transit facility, both friendly neighbours have crossed yet another milestone in their bilateral relations and regional connectivity.
The Kolkata-Ashuganj-Tripura tranist route gives mainland India cheaper and easier access to the seven landlocked northeastern states.
Under the India-Bangladesh Bilateral Trade Agreement, the revised Inland Water Transit & Trade Protocol gives both countries right to use each other’s territory for transiting goods to third countries. Thus it allows Bangladesh to transit goods to Bhutan and Nepal while India can access Myanmar via Bangladesh giving impetus to Act east policy. The protocol also facilitates trade and development not only between Bangladesh and India but also in the entire sub-region facilitating trade and development in the sub-region.
INDIA and SRI LANKA
India to invest $2 billion in Sri Lanka
India is going to invest 2 billion dollars in Sri Lanka in the next three-four years. It was announced by Union Minister for State (MoS) Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to Sri Lanka.
She had visited Sri Lanka for talks on the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) to discuss the terms of the agreement.
About Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA)
ETCA agreement seeks to boost cooperation in scientific expertise, technical areas and research amongst institutions between India and Sri Lanka.
It also seeks to boost standards of goods and services to compete on global market and improve opportunities for manpower training and human resource development.
The ETCA initiative follows unfruitful negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between two countries.
Objectives of ETCA: (i) Strengthen and advance the economic, trade, investment and technology cooperation. (ii) Promote further liberalization of trade in goods, trade in services and gradually establish transparent, fair and facilitative trading, investment and investment protection mechanisms (iii) Establish a cooperation mechanism and expand areas of economic cooperation.
The bilateral trade between India and Sri Lanka in 2015 was 4.6 billion dollars, of which Indian exports were valued at about 4 billion dollars and Sri Lankan exports 645 million dollars. India and Sri Lanka already have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) since 1998.
PM Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan President inaugurate Duraiappah stadium in Jaffna
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena inaugurated Duraiappah Stadium in Jaffna which was renovated by India.
Sri Lankan President Sirisena was present at the stadium in Jaffna while PM Narendra Modi joined the event through video-conferencing from New Delhi.
The newly renovated Duraiappah Stadium has been named in honour of a former Mayor of Jaffna late Alfred Thambirajah Duraiappah.
The stadium was not in use since 1997 as it was damaged and neglected during the course of the various phases of the Sri Lankan civil war.
Indian government has renovated the stadium at a cost of over 7 crore rupees which has seating capacity of 1,850.
It will provide the necessary infrastructure to promote sports and recreational activities. It will play pivotal role in the overall development of the youth of the war-ravaged Northern Province of Sri Lanka.
INDIA and MALDIVES
Union Cabinet approves India, Maldives MoU for cooperation in field of tourism
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Union Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Tourism of Government of Maldives.
The MoU was signed to strengthen cooperation in the field of tourism and under it Maldives will be instrumental in increasing arrival from this important source market.
Objectives of MoU:-
Expand bilateral cooperation between both countries in the tourism sector.
Exchange data and information related to tourism sector.
Encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders, including tour operators and hotels.
Establish exchange programme for cooperation in tourism sector in Human Resources Development.
Exchange visits of Tour Operators/Opinion Makers/ Media for promotion of two-way tourism.
Exchange of experiences in the areas of promotion, destination development, marketing and management of tourism.
Promote safe honourable and sustainable tourism and participate in travel exhibitions/ fairs in each other’s country.
India, Maldives sign six agreements in different sectors
India and Maldives have signed six agreements in different sectors to boost bilateral relations between both maritime neighbouring countries.
These agreements were inked after comprehensive talks between visiting Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
The bilateral agreements were signed in the fields of avoidance of double taxation, conservation and restoration of ancient mosque, tourism and defence.
Agreements signed are:-
Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation of income derived from International Air Transport.
Agreement for the Exchange of Information with respect to Taxes: It envisages mutual assistance for exchange of information concerning taxes relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic.
It also includes exchange of information relevant to the assessment, determination and collection of such taxes, the recovery and enforcement of tax claims, or the investigation and prosecution of tax matters.
Agreement related to Orbit Frequency Coordination of South Asia Satellite (SAS) proposed at 48oE: It will be used for operation of SAS for the purpose of performing intersystem orbit-frequency coordination.
It will be also used for fulfilling ITU level regulatory requirements and obtaining international level protection/recognition for the SAS.
MoU for Cooperation in the area of conservation and restoration of ancient mosques in Maldives: Detailed proposals for such restoration projects will be developed by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Department of Heritage, Maldives.
MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism: It calls for expansion of bilateral cooperation and exchange of information and data related to tourism.
It also seeks to encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders including Hotels and Tour Operators and investment in the Tourism and Hospitality sectors and establish exchange programmes for cooperation in Human Resource Development etc.
Action Plan for Defence Cooperation: It is an important component of the India-Maldives bilateral relationship and the shared strategic and security interests of the two countries in the IOR (Indian Ocean region).
It envisages an institutional mechanism to further bilateral defence cooperation at the level of the Defence Secretaries.
INDIA and NEPAL
India, Nepal sign three agreements
India and Nepal have signed three Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) for post-earthquake reconstruction, Road infrastructure in Tarai and Line of Credit.
These agreements were inked during the four days (from 15 to 18 September 2016) official state visit of Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda to India.
MoUs signed are:-
Dollar Credit line agreement: India will provide new LoC agreement for US 750 million dollars for post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal.
First Amendatory Dollar credit line agreement: It was signed between Government of Nepal and EXIM Bank to US 1 billion dollar Line of Credit (LoC) agreement signed in November 2014 for enabling reapportioning of unutilised funds for post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal.
MoU for Upgradation and Improvement of Road Infrastructure in Terai Area of Nepal: It was signed between Department of Roads, Postal Highway Project of Nepal and National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) for Project Management Consultancy Services.
Pokhara-New Delhi direct bus service launched
The first direct bus service between Pokhara (Nepal) and New Delhi (India) was launched to connect South Asia’s two important cities.
The bus service was flagged off by Nepal Home Minister Shakti Bahadur Basnet and India’s ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae from Pokhara (Nepal’s famous tourist spot).
The bus service was launched as per the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) signed between both countries.
The agreement was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Nepal visit in 2014.
The new bus service between Pokhara and New Delhi was proposed by the Uttar Pradesh State Road transport Corporation (UPSRTC) as per decision taken in MVA.
After the signing MVA, regular buses are being plied from New Delhi- Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Varanasi and Mahendranagar-Delhi and vice versa.
INDIA and BHUTAN
Union Cabinet approves the Revised Cost Estimate of Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project in Bhutan
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) of 7290.62 crore rupees for the ongoing 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project (HEP) in Bhutan.
The Hydroelectric project seeks to provide surplus power to India and thus augment power availability in the country.
The approval of RCE would enable project works to proceed smoothly without interruption and the total cost escalation for the project after RCE at this stage is 3512.82 crore rupees.
India and Bhutan had signed a bilateral agreement to execute the Punatsangchhu-II HEP in April 2010.
The project was approved cost of 3777.8 crore rupees with funding by Union Government as 30% grant and 70% loan at 10% annual interest.
The main factors behind cost escalation were due to inflation from March 2009 to March 2015 and increase in capacity of HEP from 990 MW to 1020 MW.
Besides, change in surface power house to underground power house and additional requirements of Bhutan’s National Transmission Grid Master Plan and adverse geological condition also escalated the cost.
Union Cabinet approves MoU between UPSC and Bhutan’s Royal Civil Service Commission
The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), Bhutan.
Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet Meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
The MoU will strengthen the existing relationship between UPSC and RCSC. It will also facilitate sharing of expertise and experience of both the parties in the area of recruitment.
It will also develop institutionalized linkage between the Public Service Commission of both the countries, which share the common ideals.
The MoU covers areas of cooperation in :-
Sharing of expertise and experience in Civil Service matters such as selection and recruitment, exchange of resources and development of professional skills of the officers and staff through training and attachment programs.
Sharing of expertise on use of Information Technology (IT) in Computer Based Recruitment Tests and Examinations.
Sharing of experience in Single Window System for speedy disposal of cases, expeditious scrutiny and building merit based staffing system, etc.
Sharing of experience on the modalities adopted on audit of procedures and processes followed by various Government agencies in recruitment under the delegated powers.
Digitization of records, display of historical records and storage.
INDIA and AFGANISTAN
India, Afghanistan sign agreements to boost bilateral cooperation
India and Afghanistan have signed an Extradition Treaty to facilitate exchange of wanted terrorists and criminals.
Moreover, both countries also signed agreements on peaceful uses of outer space technology and also on cooperation on commercial and civil matters.
These agreements were signed during Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s official state visit to India. He was on a visit to India from 14 to 15 September 2016.
Besides, during the meeting of President Ghani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi they sought faster implementation of the trilateral agreement among Iran, Afghanistan and India.
This trilateral agreement was signed between three countries in May 2016 with an aim to create a network of regional connectivity to landlocked Afghanistan through Chahbahar port.
Besides, India also extended a one-billion dollar to Afghanistan for capacity and capability building in areas like education, health, empowerment of women, skill development, energy and others.
PM Narendra Modi, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurate the restored Stor Palace in Kabul
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani jointly tele-inaugurated the restored Stor Palace in Kabul.
The Stor Palace is located in the Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Campus in Kabul. The newly renovated and restored building will house the Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Besides, it will also serve as the venue for hosting official domestic and international events by the Afghan government.
A tripartite agreement for restoring Stor Palace was signed in 2011 during the visit of then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Afghanistan. The agreement was signed between Aga Khan Development Network, Government of Afghanistan and Government of India.
India’s Contribution in Afghanistan’s development:-
India has played a significant role in the reconstruction and rehabilitation process in Afghanistan in the past few years.
Earlier in June 2016, both countries had inaugurated the $300 million India and Afghanistan Friendship Dam in Herat Province.
Besides, India also had gifted Afghanistan its new parliament building in December 2015.
So far India has poured more than $2 billion dollars into Afghanistan reconstruction projects and humanitarian aid as part of its goodwill diplomacy making it one of the largest donors to the war-torn country.
PM Narendra Modi, Ashraf Ghani inaugurates Afghan-India Friendship Dam
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurated the Afghan-India Friendship Dam in Herat province in Western Afghanistan.
The dam was inaugurated during PM Narendra Modi’s first stop to Afghanistan as part of his five- nation tour which will also take him to Qatar, Switzerland, US and Mexico.
The Afghan-India Friendship Dam was earlier known as Salma Dam. It is built on Hari River in Chishti Sharif District of Herat Province neighbouring Iran and is earth and rock fill dam.
It is a multipurpose project built to generate 42 MW of power, irrigate 75000 hectares of land, water supply and other benefits to the people of Afghanistan.
By irrigating 75000 hectares of land it is expected to significantly boost the agricultural economy of the province.
Central Public Sector Unit M/s. WAPCOS under the aegis of Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
The height of the Dam is 104.3 metres, length 540 metres and width at the bottom is 450 metres. The gross capacity of the dam is 633 Million M3.
All equipment and material required for the dam were transported from India to Iran’s Bander-e-Abbas port via sea route.
It was further transported by road to Islam Kila border post at Iran-Afghanistan border and then further 300 km by road from the border post to the site.
India has a strategic partnership with Afghanistan and is implementing number of infrastructure projects worth 2 billion dollars to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure.
As part of India’s goodwill diplomacy it has been supporting an Afghanistan-led, Afghanistan-owned, broad-based and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation.
India is also advocating the need for a sustained and long-term commitment to Afghanistan by the international community.
Herat province: It lies on the ancient trade routes of the Middle East, Central and South Asia. Roads from Herat to Turkmenistan, Iran, and other parts of Afghanistan are considered strategically important.
INDIA and JAPAN
India, Japan ink Social Security Agreement
India and Japan have signed a Social Security Agreement (SSA) and will come into force on 1 October 2016.
The SSA will benefit Indian and Japanese professionals and skilled workers working in each other’s country and will also boost bilateral business linkages.
The SSA will help avoid double social security contributions i.e. Indian worker on a short-term contract in Japan will be exempt from making a social security contribution there vice versa.
This exemption will be provided to Indian worker, only if he is covered under the social security system of India and continues to pay his contribution during period of overseas contract.
Benefits: It will help for easy remittance of benefits in case of relocation. It will favourably impact the competitive position and profitability of Indian and Japanese companies with foreign operations in either country by reducing their cost of doing business abroad.
So far, India has so far signed similar comprehensive social security agreements with 15 countries. They are Canada, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Hungary, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, South Korea, Switzerland, Austria, and Australia.
Mizoram Government, JICA ink MoU for promoting Sustainable Agriculture
Mizoram government and Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA) have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on ‘Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Irrigation Development’.
It was signed by the State government officials of Agriculture, Minor Irrigation, Horticulture and Soil and Water Conservation departments.
The MoU will pave way for experts of the Japanese company to undertake technical cooperation project on the companys expense in four rural development blocks in Aizawl, Serchhip, Kolasib and Champhai districts.
The project will be undertaken based on the development study conducted by JICAduring 2013 and 201. Based on this study, it had formulated a master plan covering 20 years and the technical cooperation project would commence from October 2016 till September 2021.
Under it training programmes would be conducted in Japan both for farmers and officials from Mizoram for three times and the expenses would be borne by the Japanese government.
Indian Railways forms SPV to execute Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project
Indian Railways has formed a new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Bullet Train project.
The entity has been named the National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRC) Limited.
The high speed bullet rain project aims to introduce trains running at operating speeds over 320 kilometers per hour and maximum speed of 350kmph.
The bullet train project is expected to cover the 5O8 kilometers between Mumbai (Maharashtra) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat).
It will cover the journey distance in about two hours from current seven hours to cover the same distance.
Indian Railways will have 50 per cent equity in the SPV. Maharashtra and Gujarat governments are also expected to participate in the equity for the SPV.
The project will take about seven years to complete after the awarding of the contract at an estimated to cost 97,636 crore rupees.
81 per cent of the funding for this project will come by way of a loan from Japan. It is a soft loan with maturity of 50 years at 0.1 per cent annual interest with 15 years’ moratorium period.
INDIA and RUSSIA
India and Russia joint military exercise Indra 2016 begins
The eighth edition of joint military exercise ‘Indra-2016’ between India and Russia has begun in Russian city of Vladivostok.
The main focus of this edition of bilateral military exercise is on Counter-Terrorism Operations in semi mountainous and jungle terrain under United Nations Mandate.
The eleven days bilateral military exercise seeks to achieve interoperability in joint operations.
Troops from both sides would acquaint themselves with the respective approach to such counter-Terrorism operations.
Indian army contingent is represented by 250 soldiers from the Kumaon Regiment . It is led by Brigadier Sukrit Chadah.
Russian army is being represented by 250 soldiers from the 59th Motorised Infantry Brigade.
The ‘Indra’ series of annual bilateral exercises and is one of the major bilateral defence cooperation initiatives between India and Russia since 2003. The seventh edition of this military exercise or ‘Indra-2015’ was held in Bikaner district of Rajasthan, India.
India’s first nuclear submarine INS Arihant passes deep sea tests
India’s first indigenously built nuclear armed submarine INS Arihant has successfully passed several deep sea diving drills as well as weapons launch tests.
These successful tests undertaken off Vishakhapatnam coast where the submarine was build. These tests makes it ready for formal induction into the Naval Fleet
About INS Arihant:-
INS Arihant’s design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarine. It is a 6,000-tonne nuclear powered submarine and is 112 metre long.
Powered by 83 MW pressurised light water reactor built with Russia’s help. This reactor generates tremendous heat, driving a steam turbine.
Capable of launching twelve short range nuclear-capable ballistic missile BO-5 (K 15) which has a range of 700 kms and four K 4 ballistic missile with a range of 3,500 km.
Presently, Indian Navy operates the INS Chakra, a nuclear-powered submarine which is leased for 10 years from Russia in 2012.
INDIA and BRAZIL
Naval Exercise IBSAMAR 2016 between India, Brazil kicked off in Goa
The fifth edition of IBSAMAR 2016 trilateral naval exercise between Brazil, India a kicked off in Goa. IBSAMAR is abbreviated as India-Brazil Maritime.
This is the for the first time the exercise is held in India as all the previous editions were held in South Africa since it began in 2006.
This trilateral naval exercise aims at increasing (i) Interoperability among navies of three countries (ii) Common understanding maritime security between them.
This edition of IBSAMAR naval exercise will be conducted two phases namely Harbour phase and Sea Phase.
During harbour phase, wide range of professional interactions will be undertaken and during Sea Phase diverse range operational activities will be conducted off Goa coast.
The thrust of the exercises will be on anti-submarine warfare (ASW), air defence, flying operations, surface firing, search and rescue and tactical procedures.
Indian navy is represented by INS Mumbai– a missile destroyer, INS Shalki– a Shisuhumar class diesel electric submarine and INS trishul– a stealth frigate. The
Brazilian Navy is represented by Brazilian Naval Ship (BNS) Amazonas embarked with Special Forces. .
Comment:- The IBSAMAR trilateral naval exercise epitomises the strong long-term strategic relationship between the three democracies and vibrant economies. It represents the most visible manifestation of convergence of democratic values, economic interests and maritime cooperation.
India, Brazil inked agreements to bolster the bilateral ties
With a view to strengthen bilateral relationship, India and Brazil signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) during the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil. The agreement was inked by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
The three MoUs are:-
MoU on Environment :-Both nations agreed to extend cooperation on Climate change; Biodiversity; Afforestation in arid areas; Water conservation; Protection of wetlands and Waste management. Waste management includes Management of agricultural waste and electronic waste; Management of waste water management; Use of bio-fuels; Air and water quality management; Environmental information systems. The cooperation in this field will be in the form of exchange of information and documentation and collaborative projects. Towards this, the two countries agreed to set up an Indo-Brazil Joint Working Group on Environment which will see that the contents of the agreement are implemented.
MoU on Space:- Both nations agreed on implementing arrangement establishing cooperation in augmentation of a Brazilian earth station for receiving and processing data from Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites.
Other Agreements:- Both sides also agreed to take measures to further expand and diversify trade and investment flows and strengthen cooperation in agriculture and dairy science, conventional and renewable energy, space research and application, defence, cyber security and environment conservation. They also agreed to step up their cooperation in international forums and multilateral institutions, including the G 20.
INDIA and SOUTH-AFRICA
Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and South Africa in field of ICT Technologies
The Union Cabinet has apprised of the MoU between India and South Africa for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
The MoU was signed between both countries in July 2016 during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to 5 African nations in July 2016.
The MoU will help to establish inter-institutional cooperation and relations between India and South Africa in order to promote cooperation in the field of ICT.
It will also result in active cooperation and exchanges between the capacity building institutions, private entities, Governments and other public organizations of the two countries in the field of ICT.
Union Cabinet approves MoU with South Africa to establish cooperation in Grassroots Innovation
The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Africa to establish cooperation in Grassroots Innovation.
The MoU was signed in pursuance to the Inter-Government Agreement between two countries for cooperation in Science & Technology in July, 2016 at Pretoria, South Africa.
Under this MoU:-
Both countries will jointly organise various programmes such as forums, workshops, seminars and training on matters related to innovation.
They will also share open source technologies with each other and jointly develop projects to assist innovators in converting their ideas into commercially viable innovations.
The MoU also provides a mechanism and help in creating an ecosystem that will promote inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship at the grassroot level in both countries.
It gives particular focus on Indigenous knowledge systems and Agriculture Biotechnology.
Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and South Africa in the field of Tourism
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Africa for cooperation in the field of Tourism.
Decision in this regard was taken by the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The MoU was signed in July 2016.
Objectives of the MoU:-
Expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector.
Encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders, including hotels and tour operators.
Exchange information and data related to tourism Establish exchange programmes for cooperation in Human Resource Development.
Encourage visits of Tour Operators/Opinion Makers/ Media and tourists from both countries for promotion of two way tourism.
Investing in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Exchange experiences in the areas of education, promotion, marketing, destination development and management.
Participate in travel exhibitions/fairs in each other’s country Promote safe, honourable and sustainable tourism.
South Africa and India share and enjoy warm and friendly bilateral relations. South Africa is an emerging tourism source markets for India.
In 2015, India had received approximately 51922 tourists from South Africa. India has extended the Electronic Tourist Visa (eTV) facility for the South African Nationals.
The eTV facility has elicited good response from travel trade. The MoU will be instrumental in increasing arrival from South Africa.
India imposes anti-dumping duty on phenol imports from South Africa
India has in imposed definitive anti-dumping duty of 342.76 dollars per tonne on all phenol imports on imports of Phenol from South Africa. This anti-dumping duty will be valid for a period of five years.
The duty was imposed by Union Finance Ministry based on the recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty (DGAD) under the aegis of Union Commerce Ministry.
This decision was taken by DGAD on the petition filed by Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited and S I Group Limited seeking continuation of anti-dumping duty on Phenol imports from South Africa.
It should be noted the above mentioned two companies are the only producers of Phenol in the country.
Phenol:- Phenol is a basic organic chemical characterized by a hydroxyl (−OH) group attached to a carbon atom. Its specific name for its simplest member is monohydroxybenzene (C6H5OH) is also known as benzenol or carbolic acid. It is widely used in particle boards, pharmaceuticals, plywoods, laminates and phenyl formaldehyde resins etc.
What is Anti-Dumping Duty?
It is a trade duty imposed by any government on imported products which have prices less than their normal values in their domestic market.
Usually countries initiate anti-dumping probes to check if domestic industry has been hurt because of a surge in below-cost imports.
Anti-Dumping Duty is imposed under the multilateral WTO regime and varies from product to product and from country to country.
In India, anti-dumping duty is recommended by the Union Ministry of Commerce (i.e. Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty-DGAD), while the Union Finance Ministry imposes it.
INDIA and USA
India, US Joint Military Training Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2016 concludes
India and United States (US) Joint Military Training Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2016 concluded at the Chaubattia Military Station in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand.
The bilateral military exercise was the twelfth edition in the Yudh Abhyas series which started in the year 2004 under US Army Pacific Partnership Program. This was the third time the exercise is being conducted at Chaubattia in Uttarakhand.
The YudhAbhyas 2016 aimed at strengthening and broadening the inter-operability and cooperation between the Indian and US armies.
It had witnessed Field Training Exercises of Brigade Headquarter based Command Post Exercise and also discussions on issues of mutual interest by experts of both countries.
It provided an ideal platform for the personnel of the two countries to share their experiences on counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations, especially in the mountainous terrain.
Exercise curriculum was planned progressively in which participants were initially made to get familiar with each other’s organizational structure, equipment, weapons, and tactical drills.
Both the armies in joint drills of the training had coherently practiced advanced to joint tactical exercises.
The Joint Drills included Room Intervention, Cordon and Search in Counter Terrorist Operations, Reflex Shooting, Jungle Lane Shooting, Long Range Firing and Cliff Assault Techniques.
The bilateral training culminated after final validation exercise in which all the learning mutually imparted by both armies was put to test on ground.
Troops were inducted by helicopters into a notional hostile area to neutralize terrorists, as part of the exercise.
India takes US renewable energy dispute to WTO
India has complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about support given to the renewable energy industry in United States.
The complaint alleges these 8 states in US have prop up their renewable sector with illegal subsidies and domestic content requirements, an obligation to buy local goods rather than imports. These 8 US states are Washington, Montana, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan and Minnesota.
By filing the complaint, India has triggered a 60-day window for US to settle the dispute, after which India could ask the WTO to adjudicate.
Earlier in 2013, India had filed questions at the WTO about suspected subsidies in solar programmes in four US states—Delaware, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Connecticut. It also had raised questions about local content requirements in Michigan and California’s renewable energy programmes.
In May 2016, India lost a case at the WTO after the US complained about India’s national solar programme over illegal subsidies and domestic content requirements. India has appealed that ruling.
India’s first LIGO laboratory to come up in Hingoli, Maharashtra
India’s first LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) laboratory will be set up in Aundh in Hingoli district of Maharashtra.
It will be third such laboratory in the world and first outside the United States. The existing two laboratories are located in Hanford, Washington and in Livingston, Louisiana.
The site at Aundh in Hingoli district has been chosen for carrying out experiments on the ambitious LIGO project that proved existence of gravitational waves.
It was selected based on site researches conducted by scientists from Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The setup of LIGO-India laboratory will involve construction of 8 km-long beam tube at ultra- high vaccum on a levelled terrain.
The Aundh site is suitable flat site for carrying out the experiments as the four kms strips require an unhindered straight and flat site for studying the lasers.
The LIGO-India laboratory will help to bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for Indian industries.
A MoU to set up the LIGO-India project was signed between the scientists from the US’ National Science Foundation (NSF) and India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the DST in April 2016.
Earlier in February 2016, the Union Cabinet had given its in-principle approval to the LIGO-India mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves.
India, US sign LEMOA
India and the United States have signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that will enable both countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of defence supplies.
The agreement was signed after Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met his US counterpart, Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in Washington, D.C.
The logistics agreement signed was based on the memorandum in principle reached between two leaders in April 2016.
What is LEMOA?
LEMOA is another name for Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), an agreement that US has signed with many of its allies.
It allows defence forces countries to avail defence logistics support facilities such as fuel, spare parts, mechanics, etc. during joint training, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), and port calls.
Besides, it also lays out the procedure for billing for these facilities as part of a larger accounting transaction and details are contained in clarifying protocols annexed to LEMOA.
LEMOA is facilitating agreement that establishes basic terms, conditions, and procedures for reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services (LSSS).
LSSS include food, billeting, water, medical services, transportation, petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communication services, storage services, training services, spare parts and components, repair and maintenance services and port services.
Reciprocal logistic support would be used exclusively during authorized port visits, joint training, joint exercises, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
Provision of LSSS from one Party to the other would be in return for either cash payment or the reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services.
Logistics support for any other cooperative efforts will only be provided on a case-by-case basis through prior mutual consent of both countries
LEMOA does not create any obligations on either Party to carry out any joint activity. It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.
It will significantly help to enhance the operational capacity of the Indian Armed Forces, including in their response to humanitarian crises or disaster relief.
LEMOA is one of the three foundational agreements that guide US high technology cooperation in defence sector with other countries. Other two are Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).
What is CISMOA?
CISMOA will allow the US to supply India with its propriety encrypted communications equipment and systems.
Thus, it will allow to secure peacetime and wartime communication between high-level military leaders on both sides.
CISMOA will also extend this capability to Indian and US military assets, including aircraft and ships.
So far US has blocked sale of some of its advanced technologies and sensitive equipments to India on account of non-signing this agreement.
What is BECA?
BECA would facilitate exchange of geospatial information between India and US for both military and civilian use.
India seeks help of US and European countries to crack terror fund trail from Pakistan
India has approached United States (US) and select European countries part of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to crack terror fund trail details of the Al Rehmat Trust from Pakistan.
Al Rehmat Trust is financer of terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) which had carried out the attack at the Pathankot airbase (in Punjab) in January 2016.
India has alleged that Al Rehmat Trust, founded by JeM chief, Maulana Masood Azhar, uses its money for funding and training terrorist modules against India.
What is Financial Action Task Force (FATF)?
FATF is an inter‐governmental policy making body with ministerial mandate to establish international standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
It was established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris (France) to combat the growing problem of money laundering.
It comprises over 36 countries including India. FATF Secretariat is housed at the headquarters of the OECD in Paris.
Initially it was only dealing with developing policies to combat money laundering. But in 2001 its purpose was expanded to act against terrorism financing.
Objectives: Set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
Functions: (i) Set international standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. (ii) Assess and monitor compliance with the FATF standards. (iii) Conduct studies of money laundering and terrorist financing methods, trends and techniques. (iv) Respond to new and emerging threats, such as proliferation financing (used for promoting proliferation of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons).
India-US ink $1 billion deal to buy four Poseidon-8I aircraft
India has signed a defence deal with United States worth over $1 billion to purchase four additional Poseidon-8I (P8I) long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
This deal is a follow-up order to the eight P-81 aircrafts that are already bought by India in a direct deal with Boeing’s Indian subsidiary in 2009.
The acquisition of additional four P-8I aircraft will give the Indian Navy much-needed punch to build up its naval surveillance capabilities.
About Poseidon-8I (P8I) aircraft:-
The P-8I is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.
The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the US Navy. It is capable of broad area, maritime and littoral operations.
It is equipped with the sophisticated Harpoon missiles, lightweight torpedoes and rockets. The Indian Navy is the first international customer for the P-8I.
Indian Navy has been using the P-8I to keep watch over the Indian Ocean. The P-8I fleet of Indian Navy is based at naval air station Rajali in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu.
Union Defence Ministry gives nod for purchase of 145 Ultra Light Howitzers guns from the US
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has given its approval to for the purchase of 145 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) guns from the US.
The procurement of ULH will be through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route from the US and it will cost around 750 million dollars.
As part of this deal, 25 ULH guns will come to India directly from US in a fly away condition. Rest will be assembled in India at the proposed Assembly Integration and Test facility (AITF) for the weapon system in partnership with Mahindra and Mahindra Company.
Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) Guns:-
It is being manufactured by BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division. It is smaller and lighter. It weighs 4,100 kg and can be easily transported by helicopters.
It has effective firing range of 24 km. It will be deployed in high altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China under the Mountain Strike Corps (raised in 2013).
Besides, DAC also approved:-
Acquisition of five diving support craft for 150 crore rupees
386-crore rupees project for modernisation and augmentation of facilities at naval dockyard and naval ship repair yards.
Buying of indigenously made simulators for Jaguar aircraft for 500 crore rupees and setting up of an electronic warfare range for 1,300 crore rupees through indigenous capability.
DAC also asked Ordnance Factory Board (Jabalpur) to provide three 155 mm 45 caliber indigenously produced guns Dhanush to Indian Army by end of June 2016. Dhanush is also known as Desi Bofors.
Defence Acquisition Council (DAC): It is an apex body of Union Defence Ministry for clearing defence procurement proposals forwarded by the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.
INDIA and U.K.
Union Cabinet apprises MoU between CERT-In and CERT-UK
The Union Cabinet has apprised the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and CERT-UK.
The MoU was signed between CERT-In and Ministry of Cabinet Office, UK (United Kingdom) represented by CERT-UK, a unit of the Cabinet Office on Cyber Security in May 2016.
The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation between India and UK for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incidents.
It will facilitate both countries to exchange technical information on Cyber-attacks, response to cyber security incidents and find solutions to counter the cyber-attacks.
They can also exchange information on prevalent cyber security policies and best practices.
This MoU helps to strengthen cyber space of both countries in terms of capacity building and improving relationship between them.
Cyber Security was one of the agenda items for discussion during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to UK in November, 2015.
Earlier CERT-In signed MoUs with similar organizations of seven countries viz. South Korea, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, Japan and Uzbekistan.
Besides, Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has also signed MoU with Cyber Security as one of the areas of cooperation with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
About Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In):-
CERT-In is nodal government agency that deals with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing in India.
It is nodal department under the aegis of Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
Headquarters: New Delhi.
Objective: (i) Protect Indian cyberspace and software infrastructure against destructive and hacking activities. (ii) Strengthen security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain. Issue guidelines, vulnerability notes, advisories, and whitepapers regarding to information security practices, prevention,procedures, response and reporting of cyber security incidents.
INDIA and FRANCE
Reliance, Dassault Aviation ink deal to set up joint venture
Anil Ambani led Reliance Group and French aerospace giant Dassault Aviation have signed deal to set up a joint venture called Dassault Reliance Aerospace.
The Dassault Reliance Aerospace will execute offsets for the recently concluded India-France deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets.
It will be the largest offset contract to be executed by any defence company in India. The contract value is estimated up to Rs. 30,000 crore.
The proposed strategic partnership between Dassault and Reliance will also focus on promoting research and development (R&D) projects under the IDDM program.
IDDM stands for Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured. It is programme on the lines with the new provision introduced in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016.
The JV will focus on aero structures, engines and electronics and intends to infrastructure and supply chain in India for the aerospace sector.
Background: – In September 2016, India and France had signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role jets in fly-away condition worth €7.87 billion (about Rs. 59,000 crore). The deal has a 50% offset clause to be executed by Dassault Aviation and its partners in India. Through the offsets, government seeks to bring in much needed expertise to build the domestic defence and aerospace industry.
India, France ink deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets
India and France has signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of 7.87 billion Euros.
The deal was signed by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian. Eric Trappier in New Delhi.
This is the first fighter aircraft deal signed by India with other country since the purchase of Sukhoi aircrafts from Russia in the late 1990’s.
The defence deal includes the aircraft in fly-away condition, simulators, weapons, spares, maintenance, and Performance Based Logistics support for five years.
The Rafale is a twin-engine fighter, multi-role fighter aircraft manufactured by French aviation company Dassault.
These aircrafts is capable of carrying out all combat missions such as interception, air defence, in-depth strikes, ground support, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
They will come with various India- specific modifications including Israeli helmet mounted displays, low band jammers, radar warning receivers, infra-red search and tracking, 10 hour flight data recording, towed decoy systems among others.
The weapons package of deal includes Meteor radar guided Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile which is considered the best in the class with range of over 150 kms.
It also includes Scalp long range air to ground missiles. Meteor missile has a superior BVR than any of its competitor in the South Asia region.
The Rafale fighter jets are likely to succeed ageing fleet of Indian Air Force (IAF’s) Mirage fighters for nuclear warhead delivery as part of India’s nuclear doctrine.
They will be stationed at two IAF bases, Sarsawa in Haryana and Hasimara in West Bengal.
Integration of Meteor missile on Rafale jets give IAF air superiority to hit targets inside both Pakistan and across northern and eastern borders while staying within India’s territorial boundary.
Background:- The deal comes after 17 months of tough negotiations since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision for direct purchase of the Rafale fighter jets in fly-away condition in April 2014 citing “critical operational necessity” of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Union Cabinet approves MoU between DGCA and French Civil Aviation Authority
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the signing of MOU between the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India (DGCA) and the French Civil Aviation Authority – Direction Generale de l’Aviation Civile (DGAC).
The MoU seeks to implement:-
Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) for implementation and promotion of Standards and Recommended Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The TCP will be beneficial for enhancement of expertise and skills of DGCA’s officers.
Implementation of the cooperation between the two parties for imparting training of technicians, engineers, managers etc.
The MoU will also include any other subject that is relevant to the common DGAC and France’s DGCA areas of interest. For this purpose, both signatory parties will undertake to cooperate through the following actions:
Exchange information concerning the various techniques used to reach the objectives.
Send French instructors or experts to India for training missions
Receive instructors or experts of India in France for training missions.
India’s first Scorpene class submarine INS Kalvari undergoes first sea trial
INS Kalvari, Indian Navy’s first indigenous Scorpene-class stealth submarine, has recently launched for the first sea trial in the Mumbai naval dockyard.
It is a diesel-electric attack submarine which is built under the strategic Project 75 by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in collaboration with French naval defence and energy company DCNS.
INS Kalvari is also known as Tiger Shark (or S50). It is expected to be commissioned into Indian Navy by September 2016.
It has superior stealth capability and is designed to operate in all theatres including the tropics.
It is built using special steel that can withstand high yield stress that can withstand high hydrostatic force and enabling to dive deeper.
Operations capability: It can undertake various operations including multifarious warfare, Anti-submarine warfare, Intelligence gathering, mine laying, area surveillance etc.
Attack Ability: It can launch attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons and attack can be launched from underwater or on surface.
Weapons: It is equipped with Weapons Launching tubes (WLT) that can carry weapons on board and can be easily reloaded at sea.
India, France launch $1 Trillion Potential Solar Programme under ISA
India and France have launched a programme with $1 trillion Potential Solar Programme under the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
It is a solar finance programme that aims at helping developing countries to fully harness their solar resources for a clean energy future.
It was announced by Minister of State for Power Piyush Goyal and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal at the ministerial side event on ISA at the United Nations.
The solar finance programme aims at lowering the cost of finance and facilitates the flow of more than 1 trillion dollars investment to members of the ISA.
Both countries also launched a second programme at the ISA meeting which aims to make available solar technology for farmers. The meeting was attended by representatives of over 25 countries including the US, Bangladesh, Brazil and Nigeria.
About International Solar Alliance (ISA) :-
The ISA was launched at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
It seeks to empower solar-rich countries located between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn to make collaborative efforts to harness solar energy to generate the electricity.
Under this alliance, 121 countries that fall within the tropics have been invited. Most of these countries fall within Asia, Africa and South America.
Three Objectives: (i) To force down prices by driving demand, (ii) To bring standardization in solar technologies and thirdly and (iii) To foster research and development.
India, France sign MoU for construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur
India and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur nuclear park in Maharashtra.
It was inked by Electricite de France (EDF), a French public utility and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).
The MoU was signed after the two countries had decided to conclude the techno-commercial negotiations for the Jaitapur project by the end of 2016.
This cooperation roadmap was finalised during the official state Visit of French President Francois Hollande to India in January 2016.
EDF is France’s public electricity producer and supplier. It has been designated by the French government for taking over AREVA NP and shall supply equipment to for Jaitapur nuclear park.
About Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project:-
It is a 9900 MW power project proposed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) at Madban village of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra.
On completion, it will become the largest nuclear power generating station in the world by net electrical power rating.
It consists of 6 European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) of 1650 MW each. France is going to supply technology for construction and also nuclear fuel for 25 years for this plant.
INDIA and SINGAPORE
India, Singapore sign three agreements
India and Singapore have signed three agreements (MoUs) in the fields of skill development and IPR to boost bilateral relations between them.
These agreements were signed in New Delhi during Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s official state visit to India.
Signed MoUs are:-
MoU in the field of Industrial Property Cooperation: It was signed between Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Singapore.
MoU on collaboration in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training: It was signed between National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and ITEES Singapore.
MoU on collaboration in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training: It was signed between Government of Assam and ITEES Singapore.
Besides, delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Singapore Premier Lee Hsien Loong were also held in New Delhi.
Key Highlights of delegation-level talks:-
India and Singapore decided to strengthen cooperation in countering threats of rising terrorism.
India seeks to enhance cooperation with Singapore in key sectors including trade and investment.
Highlighted importance of Defence and security cooperation as the key pillar of strategic partnership between India and Singapore.
Raised concern over rising tide of terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism and the rise of radicalisation as a grave challenges to our security.
India agreed to expedite the second review of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
Union Cabinet approves MoU between India, Singapore to give a boost to Innovation, Creativity and Technological Advancement
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Industrial Property Cooperation.
The MoU will be signed at the upcoming official state visit of Singapore’s Prime Minister to India from 4 to 7 October, 2016.
The MoU will be signed between India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).
It will enhance bilateral cooperation activities in the arena of Industrial Property Rights of Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs.
It is also intended to give a boost to creativity, innovation and technological advancement in both regions.
The MoU will also facilitate exchange of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP awareness among the public, educational institutions and businesses of both countries.
It will also facilitate exchange of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP with industry, universities, R&D organizations and Small and Medium Enterprises.
It will enhance cooperation in the development of automation and implementation of modernization projects.
INDIA and UZBEKISTAN
India, Uzbekistan ink pacts to boost cooperation
India and Uzbekistan have inked pacts to boost cooperation between their foreign offices and in the field of culture and tourism.
The agreements were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan President had talks on key bilateral and regional issues.
This visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was part of his first leg of strategic tour to 5 Central Asian countries (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) and Russia.
Both nations discussed on following issues Economic and Strategic ties:
Enhance strategic, economic and energy ties along with reviewing key regional issues including the situation in Afghanistan.
Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism: To intensify security cooperation and exchanges for combating terrorism, promoting regional integration and advancing stability in the region.
Defence and cyber security: Enhance cooperation in the fields of defence and cyber-security.
Uranium supply contract: Implement the contract which was signed in 2014 for supply of 2,000 metric tonnes of the Uranium from mineral-rich Uzbekistan to India.
Strengthening cooperation: In the areas of information technology, agriculture and energy.
International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC): India asked Uzbekistan to be part of INSTC similar to Ashgabat Agreement which is s a transit pact between Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Oman established in 2011.
It should be noted that INSTC is a ship, road and rail route for moving freight between India, Iran, Russia, Europe and Central Asia.
SCO summit 2016 begins in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
The 2016 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit started in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The 2-day meeting of heads of state of SCO is being conducted under the presidency of Uzbekistan.
During the summit, the issues related to strengthen stability and security in Central Asia will be undertaken.
It will also take into consideration the expansion of SCO’s contacts with other international organization and states.
It will also seek wide involvement of the SCO observer states and dialogue partners in practical cooperation within the organization will be discussed.
In it, India and Pakistan will sign a memorandum of obligation for obtaining SCO member states status.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):-
SCO is a Eurasian economic, political and military organisation. Its aim is jointly preserving and safeguarding regional peace, security and stability and also establishing a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.
Headquarters: Beijing, China.
Established: 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders 6 countries viz. China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
It is an outcome of The Shanghai Five grouping established in 1996 by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
SCO’s first enlargement was in 2001 with addition of Uzbekistan and second enlargement was in July 2015 with addition of 2 new members India and Pakistan.
Presently, it has four observers Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.
Since 2005, India was having an Observer status of SCO and had applied for full membership in 2014.
INDIA and AUSTRALIA
India, Australia sign MoU to enhance R&D capabilities in biotech
India and Australia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance research and development (R&D) capabilities in biotechnology by launching a joint funding call.
The MoU was signed between India’s BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) and Horticulture Innovation Australia.
The MoU seeks to stimulate and enhance the strategic research and innovation capabilities of the Indian biotech industry.
The focus of the funding call is to undertake horticultural research in order to develop and deploy modern tools of plant biotechnology to improve crop productivity.
The funding commitment from BIRAC and Horticulture Innovation is up to 6 million Australian dollars over a period of three years.
BIRAC: It a PSU under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology. It seeks to stimulate and enhance the strategic research and innovation capabilities of the Indian biotech industry, particularly start-ups and SMEs, for the creation of affordable products addressing the needs of the largest section of society.
Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation): It is a not-for-profit, grower-owned R&D and marketing company for Australia’s horticulture industry. It works collaboratively with industry, Australian government and the nation’s leading research institutions to deliver ground-breaking advancements in areas such as agri-technology, pest management, trade and industry promotion.
India-Australia Social Security Agreement comes into operation
India-Australia social security Agreement signed between both countries came into operation.
This agreement will enable people of both nations to avail retirement benefits in each other’s country and will boost bilateral business linkages.
The social security Agreement will give people more freedom to move between India and Australia as their pension rights are recognised and protected.
Under the ambit of it, Australian residing in India will be able to claim the Australian Age Pension without having to return to Australia. While, Indian residents living in Australia will have access to Indian retirement pensions
It will strengthen India-Australia relationship as 397,000 Indian-born people living in Australia and making substantial contribution.
The Social Security Agreement was signed in November 2014 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to Australia and came into operation on January 1, 2016.
So far, Australia has inked around 30 international social security agreements with other countries to support people living and working in more than one country.
Some of the countries are Austria, Belgium, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the US.
INDIA and MOZAMBIQUE
India-Mozambique ink three agreements
India and Mozambique have signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in areas of drug trafficking, pulse trading and sports.
These MoUs were signed between two countries at Maputo, Mozambique in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique.
Signed Agreements are:-
MoU on long term agreement for purchase of pulses.
MoU on cooperation in the field of youth affairs and sports.
MoU on reduction of drug trafficking and psychotropic substances and related materials.
The MoU on long term agreement for purchase of pulses will promote the production of Tur (Pigeon Peas) and other pulses in Mozambique to encourage trading of pulses.
It will also play an important role in augmenting domestic availability of pulses in India and thereby stabilising its prices.
The contract will be valid for five financial years i.e. till 2020-21 and pulses under it will be imported by India either through the Government-to-Government (G2G) or private channels nominated by two countries.
Background:- Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Mozambique as part of his first leg of the five day official four African nations tour viz. Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. PM Narendra Modi’s African countries tour agenda is on energy, food security, trade, maritime cooperation and diaspora interactions.
INDIA and TANZANIA
India, Tanzania ink five agreements
India and Tanzania have signed five agreements to accelerate bilateral ties between both nations.
These agreements were signed in Dar-es-Salaam in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tanzanian President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli.
PM Narendra Modi visited Tanzania on the third leg of his four-nation tour of Africa viz. Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
Signed Agreements are:-
MoU for Establishment of Vocational Training Centre at Zanzibar
MoU on Visa waiver agreement for Diplomatic/Official passport holders
MoU on Cooperation in the field of water resource management and development
Line of Credit (LoC) of US 92 million dollars for rehabilitation and improvement of water supply system in Zanzibar
Agreement on Joint Action Plan (JAP) between National Small Industries Corporation of India (NSIC) and Small Industries Development Organization Tanzania (SIDO).
Besides, PM Narendra Modi and Tanzanian President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli held wide-ranging talks. They agreed to
Cooperate in a number of areas, including food security and natural gas sector.
Deepen overall defence and security partnership, especially in the maritime domain.
Deepen bilateral trade and investment partnership by encouraging greater industry to industry ties.
Work closely, bilaterally, regionally and globally to combat the twin threats of terrorism and climate change.
INDA and KENYA
Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and Kenya in the field of National Housing Policy Development and Management
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Kenya on cooperation in the field of National Housing Policy Development and Management (NHPDM).
The MoU was signed between both countries in July 2016 at Nairobi during the visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to 5 African nations.
Under the MoU:-
Both sides will collaborate on all matters relating to human settlements and housing through various strategies including training of personnel, exchange visits,exhibitions, conferences and workshops.
The cooperation between both nations will focus on upscaling slum prevention and upgradation initiatives based on experience and implementation process of each country.
They will collaborate on development and sharing of information on real estate and housing data base including market trends, investment opportunities and best practices.
It will encourage technical cooperation between both countries in facilitating access to affordable housing from locally available building materials.
It will also encourage technical cooperation between both countries in development of Government and Public employee facilitated housing.
This would be useful to explore ways of a delivery model towards Government employees housing scheme by private sector players.
India, Kenya ink seven agreements to deepen and expand cooperation
India and Kenya have signed seven agreements to deepen and expand cooperation in a wide range of areas.
These agreements were signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi.
PM Narendra Modi visited Kenya on the fourth and last leg of his four-nation tour of Africa viz. Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
Signed Agreements are:-
MoU on Defence Cooperation.
MoU in the field of space Technology partnership.
Revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
Bilateral agreement on exemption of Visa for holders of Diplomatic passports.
MoU on Cooperation in the field of National Housing Policy Development and Management.
MoU on Cooperation in the field of expertise sharing, standardisation and mutual trade between Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Bureau of Kenya Standards (BKS).
Line of Credit (LoC) Agreement for US $29.95 million to Kenyan Government for upgradation of Rift Valley Textiles Factory (RIVATEX East Africa Limited) in Kenya.
LoC Agreement for US $15 million (first tranche of $30 million) to Kenya’s IDB Capital Limited for development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya.
Besides, PM Narendra Modi also announced that
India will fully finance a cancer hospital in Kenya. India will also donate medicines for AIDS patients in Kenya.
India would provide concessional credit of 60 million dollars for power transmission project to Kenya.
India is ready to join hands with Kenya for developing efficient and affordable health care system to make it an important regional hub for health services in East African region.
INDIA and VIETNAM
India and Vietnam ink 12 agreements in different areas of cooperation
India and Vietnam have signed 12 agreements in different areas of cooperation to boost bilateral relations.
These agreements were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi.
This was the first bilateral Prime Ministerial visit from India to Vietnam in 15 years since the visit of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2001.
The agreements were signed in the fields of:-
Exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, double taxation avoidance, co-operation on UN peacekeeping operation.
Health, cyber security, advanced IT training, sharing of shipping information between the Navies of the two countries and mutual recognition of standards.
PM Narendra Modi also announced a line of credit (LoC) of 500 million US Dollars to Vietnam to facilitate deeper defence cooperation. The LoC will be used by India’s L&T to build offshore high speed patrol boats for Vietnamese Coast Guards.
Elevation of bilateral relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
Besides, India and Vietnam also have agreed to elevate bilateral relations from Strategic Partnership to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
This was announced in a joint press statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi.
The two countries also agreed to celebrate 2017 as the Year of Friendship. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited the 15th century QUAN SU PAGODA in Hanoi, the headquarters of Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam.
INDIA and LAOS
India, Laos ink two MoUs to strengthen bilateral ties
India and Laos have inked two key Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on Air services and Quick Impact Projects under the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) programme to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations.
These MoU’s were signed in presence of Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and his counterpart President of Lao Choummaly Sayasone in Vientiane.
Vice President Hamid Ansari is on four-day official state visit to Cambodia and Laos. It is also first visit of an Indian Vice President to Laos.
MoU’s signed are:-
MoU on Air services: Allows airlines to start a direct flight between the two countries.
MoU on quick impact projects of MCG: It includes three projects in the agriculture sector.