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Last Updated: January 21, 2021 10 hours ago

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  • Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries

    10 hours ago
    For the first time, top palm oil producers are seeking opportunities to launch promotional campaigns in Europe. Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s largest oil producers, have issued proposals for an advocacy company to conduct a campaign in Europe through the Committee of Palm Oil Producing Countries. Highlights: ♦ According to the European Union, the main producer of palm oil is Malaysia, and it has exploited the biodiversity-rich tropical rain forests in Southeast Asia and exploited migrant workers.  ♦ As part of the European Green Agreement, the EU will strengthen legislation on deforestation. This may limit the use of palm oil in fuel and food. Therefore, CPOPC, led by Indonesia and Malaysia, is looking for opportunities to initiate campaigns to change the perceptions of European countries. ♦ The EU has finalized a rule in 2019, mainly due to deforestation, to phase out palm oil in renewable fuels by 2030. ♦ Malaysia and Indonesia produce 85% of global palm oil production. Indonesia alone produces 60% of the world’s palm oil. India and China are the biggest buyers of palm oil. ♦ The Committee of Palm Oil Producing Countries is an intergovernmental organization. It was established in 2015. Indonesia and Malaysia are the founding countries of the Palm Oil Producing Countries Committee.  ♦ The council targets to promote and strengthen cooperation in oil palm cultivation. It improves the welfare of oil palm stakeholders. It solves the barriers to palm oil trade.  ♦ The six main areas of cooperation focus of the council are palm oil sustainability, research and innovation, smallholder productivity, industrial cooperation to achieve value-added production, trade policy issues, and technical regulations and standards. ♦ The "European Green Agreement" is a series of EU policy measures aimed at neutralizing the European climate by 2050.

    India-EU IPR Dialogue was Held

    16 hours ago
    The first India-EU IPR dialogue was held to strengthen relations and promote cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Highlights: ♦ The EU Commission and India’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) conducted the first India-EU dialogue virtually. ♦ The purpose of the dialogue is to further strengthen the relationship between India and the European Union and promote cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property Rights. ♦ Intellectual Property Rights refers to the provision of providing property rights through patents, copyrights and trademarks.  ♦ Intellectual property holders have a monopoly on the use of property or objects within a specified period of time.  ♦ The term intellectual property began in the 19th century. It was only in the 20th century that it became part of the world's legal system.

    GoI Strengthened the Chabahar Port

    1 day ago
    The Indian government has strengthened the cargo handling capacity of Iran's Chabahar port. Highlights: ♦ India has provided cargo of two Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHC) to Iran’s Chabahar Port. According to the contract agreement, the total value of the contract exceeds USD 25 million and a total of 6 MHCs are supplied. ♦ This is a stage towards India's responsibility towards infrastructure development of ‎Shahid Beheshti Port of Chabahar.  ♦ The bilateral contract between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of India was signed in 2016, with a total value of USD 85 million, for the equipment, mechanization and start of operation at Shahid Beheshti Port of Chabahar development Phase- I. ♦  In order to achieve this ambitious goal, an SPV namely India Ports Global Limited (IPGL), Mumbai was incorporated under the ambit of the Ministry of Ports, ‎Shipping and Waterways. ♦ The development of Chabahar Port is the anchor point for the expansion of economic and mutual relations between India and Iran, and it will further promote the maritime trade between both countries. ♦ The geographical location of Chabahar Port has strategic advantages and huge potential. It can establish connectivity between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and other CIS countries (especially the eastern countries of the CIS) to increase these Trade between countries.

    India France Military Exercise

    2 days ago
    India and France will hold ex-Desert Knight 21 exercises. This is a bilateral air exercise between the Indian Air Force and the French Air Force. Desert Knight 21 will be held in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Rafale fighters will participate in the exercise. Highlights: ♦ Under the leadership of the Indo-French Defense Cooperation Organization, the French Air Force and the Indian Air Force have so far conducted six air exercises called the "Eagle."  ♦ The last of the six exercises was held at Mont-de-Marsan Air Force Base in France in 2019. In addition to the Garuda series of exercises, "Desert Front Knight 21" will also be held. ♦ About Former Desert Rider 21: The main purpose of this exercise is to provide operational risks and share best practices. Rafale flying jets from the French Aerospace Agency, multi-purpose tanker transport aircraft and approximately 175 personnel will participate in the exercise. Su-30 MKI, Mirage 2000 and IL-78 flying tankers from the Indian Air Force will participate in this exercise. ♦ The regular defense exercises between India and France are as follows: -    Shakti exercise was held between the Indian and French forces -    The Varuna exercise was held between the Indian Navy and the French Navy -    The Garuda exercise was held between the two air forces ♦ The three main pillars of the India-French strategic partnership are space, defense and civil nuclear cooperation.  ♦ France has been supporting India as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. France has also received strong support from India in the missile technology control system, the Wassenaar arrangement, the Australian group and the nuclear supplier group. ♦ India joined the Wassenaar Arrangement and became the 42nd member. In addition, India joined the missile technology control regime in 2018. Since India is a non-signatory of the NPT, India's accession has been widely opposed.

    Ndrangheta from South America to Europe

    3 days ago
    Italian authorities believe that the Ndrangheta Mafia is responsible for controlling the large amount of cocaine entering Europe from South America. After the large-scale Mafia trial against the Ndrangheta group, the Italian government confirmed this. Highlights: ♦ The Ndrangheta is a famous Italian Mafia in the region of Calabria. The Mafia began in the 18th century. ♦ During the reign of the Bourbon of Naples, the first official report of Ndrangheta was submitted in 1792. ♦ According to US, money laundering activities, drug trafficking accounts for 3% of Italy’s GDP. Ndrangheta's annual revenue is approximately US$50 billion to US$60 billion. ♦ Ndrangheta is also active in other countries, such as Albania, Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, the Netherlands, Germany, Malta, Switzerland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and the United States. ♦ According to EUROPOL (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation), in the whole world Ndrangheta is the most powerful organized crime group. ♦ Calabria is a region located in southern Italy. The region borders the Ionian Sea to the east and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. The Strait of Messina separates Calabria from Sicily. The Mafia in Sicily is considered to be one of Ndrangheta's closest allies. ♦ The Allies of the Ndrangheta Mafia are Camorra, Sacra Corona Unita, Societa foggiana, Stidda, Albanian Mafia, American Mafia, Primeriro Comando da Capital. ♦ The Camorra, Safian Mafia, Sacra Corona Unita, Stidda and Societa foggiana are located in Italy. Primeiro Comando da Capital is located in Brazil.

    Boris Johnson Invited PM Modi To Attend G7 Summit

    3 days ago
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson invited Prime Minister Modi to attend the G7 summit. Britain also invited Australia and South Korea. Previously, the United Kingdom had proposed the idea of D10.  Highlights: ♦ D10 includes members of the Group of Seven countries as well as India, Australia and South Korea. ♦ G7 was originally established in 1975. The members are the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Russia formally joined the organization in 1998. G7 becomes G8.  ♦ However, when Russia moved its troops to eastern Ukraine and conquered Crimea in 2014, other G8 countries criticized Russia severely. Subsequently, they withdrew Russia from the Group of Eight. Therefore, the G8 became the G7 again in 2014. ♦ For a country to become a member of the G7, it must have a high net national wealth and a high human development index. ♦ The annual summit of the Group of Seven nations is chaired by the leaders of its member states in turn. ♦ The summit is an informal two-day gathering. During the summit, leaders discussed global issues. The ground work of the summit was completed by the "Sherpas". Sherpa Collaboration is the personal representative or ambassador of the members of the Group of Seven. ♦ The decisions made by the Group of Seven (G7) have a huge impact on a global scale, because the members are major economic powers. They account for 58% of global net wealth. However, the decision made on the Group of Seven (G7) is not legally binding, but has strong political influence. ♦ Five of the seven countries of the Group of Seven, the United States, Italy, Japan, France, and Germany have the largest proven gold reserves. ♦ G7 attracted thousands of protesters. The protesters claimed that the G7 had no representatives from Africa and other Middle Eastern countries. It is important for protest groups to use the global platform as a stage for loitering and campaigning. In addition, some people claim that the G7 is widening the gap between developed and developing countries and making the fight against poverty more difficult.

    Open Skies Treaty Withdrawal of Russia

    3 days ago
    Russia announced its withdrawal from the Surveillance “Open Skies Treaty”. The treaty allows signatories to conduct unarmed surveillance flights on each other's territory. In 2020, the United States announced that it will withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty. Highlights: ♦ After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the "Open Skies Treaty" was signed in 1992. It was first proposed by former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955 to ease the tensions of the Cold War.  ♦ The treaty was signed between NATO (non-Atlantic Treaty Organization) members and former Warsaw Pact countries. In 2002, more than 35 countries signed the treaty. This also includes the United States and Russia. India has not signed the Open Skies Treaty. ♦ The Open Skies Treaty aims to build trust among its signatories. According to the treaty, a member country can conduct espionage anywhere in the host country only after obtaining its consent. Similarly, a member state can take an aerial image of the host country after giving a notice 72 hours in advance. ♦ The United States left the Open Skies Treaty and accused Russia of not complying with the Open Skies Treaty. On the other hand, Russia believes that the withdrawal of the United States from the treaty has caused an imbalance in its implementation. This is why Russia withdrew. ♦ In addition, the Open Sky Treaty was signed when there was no satellite surveillance. This makes the treaty out of sync with satellite surveillance technology, which is currently the preferred method of intelligence gathering. ♦ The United States and Russia withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019. According to the INF, these countries agreed to destroy deadly missile systems from their stockpiles in order to slow the nuclear arms race.

    Foreign Policy of UK After Brexit

    3 days ago
    Chatham House published a report that put forward a blueprint for British foreign policy after Brexit. The report listed India together with China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey as one of the "Four Difficult Countries." Highlights: ♦ The title of the report released by Chatham House is "Global Britain, Global Broker". The report pointed out that India’s domestic politics is complex, making it one of the countries that resist open trade and foreign investment. ♦ The report drew attention to India’s extreme right-wing policies. As Indian politics enters a stage of ethnic nationalism, the D10 alliance may eventually end because D9 disrupts the relationship between India and Britain. National nationalism is a form of nationalism in which nation and nation are defined according to race. ♦ The report criticized India's diplomatic behaviour. According to the report, India did not join the group of nations that criticized China at the UN General Assembly in 2019. ♦ The member states of the United Nations criticized China for its human rights violations in Xinjiang. In addition, India remains silent on Hong Kong’s National Security Act. ♦ By listing India as one of the "difficult four countries", Britain is destined to list India as a competitor or embarrassing opponent in the pursuit of global goals. ♦ Chatham House is also known as the Royal College of International Affairs. Chatham House aims to promote debate on major developments in international affairs and policy responses. Experts usually use it as a source of information on major international issues. ♦ The D10 group of countries was proposed by the United Kingdom. Group D10 will include all G7 countries, as well as India, Australia and South Korea. D10 means the top ten democracies in the world.

    UN Released International Migration 2020 Report

    3 days ago
    The United Nations (UN) released the International Migration 2020 Highlights report. According to the report, Indian diaspora is the largest in the world. As of 2020, more than 18 million people from India are living outside India. Highlights: ♦ Other diaspora countries are Mexico, China, Russia, and Syria. ♦ According to this report, Indian diasporas are distributed in many major countries, such as the UAE (3.5 million), Saudi Arabia (2.5 million) and the United States (2.7 million). ♦ Some other countries that receive high numbers of immigrants from India are Oman, Australia, Kuwait, Canada, Qatar, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. ♦ Between 2000 and 2020, the size of immigrant populations in all countries is increasing. During his tenure, India received the largest gain of nearly 10 million. India is followed closely by Syria, Venezuela, China and the Philippines. ♦ The places where the immigrant population increased during this period were Ukraine, Pakistan, Tanzania, Armenia, India, and Ukraine. Immigration to India is for labor and family reasons. ♦ The United States is the largest destination country for international immigrants. As of 2020, there are more than 51 million immigrants in the United States. This is equivalent to 18% of the world's total immigrant population. ♦ The United States is close behind. Germany has hosted the second largest immigrants in the world, with an immigrant population of more than 16 million. Germany is closely followed by Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Kingdom. ♦ The number of international immigrants increased by 281 million. It was 221 million in 2010 and 173 million in 2000. ♦ Currently, the total number of international immigrants accounts for about 3.6% of the world's population. ♦ In terms of regional migration corridors, Central Asia and South Asia to North Africa and West Asia have seen the most growth. In these corridors, the immigrant population has almost tripled between 2000 and 2020.

    US National Rifle Association filed for Bankruptcy

    4 days ago
    The National Rifle Association recently filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. The association filed for bankruptcy to avoid being investigated by the New York Attorney General. Highlights: ♦ The Attorney General of New York sued the National Rifle Association in August 2020 on the grounds that the association’s senior management embezzled millions of dollars for personal travel. ♦ The American Rifle Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1871 by Civil War veterans General George Wingate and Colonel William C. Church. The organization was established to promote and encourage scientific rifle shooting.  ♦ It is considered the most influential gun organization in the United States. Critics believe that the organization is a contributing factor to gun violence in the country. ♦ NRA teaches gun safety and capabilities. It published several magazines and sponsored competitive marksmanship competitions. As of December 2018, the NRA consists of more than 5 million members. ♦ The NRA’s main efforts are the Gun Owners Protection Act, which reduces the restrictions of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the Dickey Amendment that prevents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using federal funds to promote gun control. ♦ The establishment of the American National Rifle Association is consistent with the establishment of the British National Rifle Association, which was established a year and a half ago. ♦ The American Civil War happened from 1861 to 1865. The civil war was the result of long-term enslavement of blacks. NRA is considered a product of civil war. ♦ The National Rifle Association opposed the Arms Trade Treaty. The Arms Trade Treaty is a multilateral treaty regulating trade at international level. More than 109 states have ratified the treaty. The treaty attempts to regulate the international trade of conventional weapons.

    India Chairs 3 Key Subsidiary Bodies of the UNSC

    11 days ago
    India will host the three-key subsidiary bodies of the UNSC (United Nations Security Council). Highlights: ♦ The groups are the Counter-Terrorism Committee, Taliban Sanctions Committee and Libya Sanctions Committee. ♦ The Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee evoked a special response in India. Not only has India been at the forefront of combating terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism, but it's also one among India’s biggest victims. Considering India’s strong interest and commitment to peace, security, development and progress in Afghanistan. ♦ The Taliban Sanctions Committee has always a top priority for India. When the international community pays attention to Libya and therefore the social process, India will assume the chairmanship of the Libya sanctions committee at a critical juncture.

    MoC Between India And Japan

    13 days ago
    The Cabinet approves the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan on Partnership in “Specified Skilled Worker”. Highlights: ♦ The memorandum of cooperation will provide an institutional mechanism for the partnership and cooperation between the two countries to dispatch and accept skilled Indian workers with specific skills and Japanese tests to work in 14 specific sectors in Japan. ♦ These Indian workers would be given a new status of residence of "Specified Skilled Worker" by the Japan Government. ♦ The Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) will strengthen people-to-people contacts, foster mobility of workers and skilled professionals from India to Japan. ♦ The 14 specified sectors are industrial machinery manufacturing industry, electric and electronic information related industry, construction, shipbuilding and ship-related industry, nursing care, building cleaning, material processing industry, lodging, agriculture, fisheries, automobile maintenance, aviation, food and beverages manufacturing industry and food service industry.

    Solidarity and Stability Deal - Gulf Countries

    13 days ago
    The Gulf countries signed the "Solidarity and Stability" deal at the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit held in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia. Background: In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and allies, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain & Egypt severed ties with Qatar and imposed naval, air and land blockades on the country. Qatar is accused of being very close to Iran and supporting Islamic radical groups. The country was imagined to support and fund terror through its support of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood (a Sunni Islamist political group outlawed by both Saudi Arabia and therefore the UAE). Solidarity and Stability Deal: The Gulf Cooperation Council member states signed a deal in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia, to remove all sanctions on Qatar and reopen its land, sea and air borders to Qatar. Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. To unite efforts to promote in the Gulf region and respond to the surrounding challenges, especially the threat posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile program and its plans for sabotage and destruction. Gulf Cooperation Council GCC is a political, economic, social, and regional organisation which was established by an agreement concluded in the year 1981 among Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE in the view of countries geographic proximity, special relations, similar political systems based on Islamic beliefs, joint destiny & common objectives. The structure of GCC consists of the Supreme Council which is the highest authority, the Secretariat General and the Ministerial Council. The secretariat of GCC is found in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

    India Formally Began Its Two-Year Term As A Non-Permanent Member Of The UNSC

    14 days ago
    Together with Norway, Mexico, Ireland and Kenya, India formally serves as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term. On June 17, 2020, India was elected to the Security Council with a total of 192 votes and 184. Highlights: ♦ India formally serves as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term. On June 17, 2020, India was elected to the Security Council with a total of 192 votes and 184. ♦ A member state needs to obtain a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly to become a non-permanent member. This is the 8th time for India to be elected as a non-permanent member. ♦ India will serve as a permanent member of the UN Security Council in August 2021, and will also serve as a permanent member of the UN Security Council for another month in 2022. According to the English alphabetical order of the member states, each member of the Security Council will serve as the President of the Security Council for one month. name. UNSC: ♦ The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was established in 1946 and is one of the six main organs of the United Nations. It is often regarded as the highest peak of the United Nations system. It is responsible for maintaining international peace and security. ♦ Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, establishing international sanctions, and authorizing military operations through Security Council resolutions. ♦ It is the only United Nations agency that has the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. ♦ The UNSC is composed of 15 members. ♦ The council has five permanent members (P-5), namely the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France. ♦ These permanent members can veto any substantive resolutions of the Security Council, including those concerning the admission of new members. ♦ The Security Council has 10 non-permanent members, elected by region as follows: -    Five items for African and Asian countries; -    One for Eastern European countries; -    Two Latin American and Caribbean countries; and -    Two are used in Western Europe and other countries. ♦ Every year, the UN General Assembly (UNGA), composed of 193 member states, elects 5 non-permanent members for a two-year term. ♦ The chairman of the organization is rotated by its members every month.    

    India-Japan Partnership In Specified Skilled Worker

    15 days ago
    The United Cabinet recently approved a memorandum of understanding between India and Japan on "specified skilled workers". According to the agreement, India will send skilled workers to Japan. Highlights: ♦ The memorandum of understanding will establish an institutional framework for cooperation between India and Japan to accept skilled workers. The only condition is that workers should have the qualifications to pass the necessary skills exams and Japanese exams. ♦ According to the memorandum of understanding, qualified Indian workers can work in 14 specific sectors in Japan. According to the agreement, Indian workers will be provided with new residency status of "specifically skilled workers". ♦ A joint working group formed to implement the memorandum of understanding. ♦ The memorandum of understanding will also increase connections between people. In addition, it will facilitate the flow of workers and skilled professionals from India to Japan. ♦ The nuclear agreement between India and Japan was signed in 2016. As, India is not a member of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, the agreement has attracted attention. For India, this transaction is necessary because it is the key to India's dealings with French and American nuclear companies that have shares in Japan or are owned by Japanese companies. ♦ In 2015, India agreed to introduce Japan's high-speed bullet train Shinkansen system. ♦ India and Japan formed the "Act East Forum" to expand cooperation between India in the Northeast region and Japan.

    Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - JCPOA

    17 days ago
    Iran notified the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) that it intends to produce uranium enriched up to 20% purity, far exceeding the threshold set by the 2015 Vienna Accord (also known as JCPOA). About JCPOA: ♦ Commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council-China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) together with the European Union. ♦ According to JCPOA, Iran agreed to eliminate its enriched uranium stocks, reduce its low-enriched uranium stocks by 98%, and reduce its gas centrifuges by about two-thirds within 13 years. ♦ In 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities during the same period. ♦ Uranium enrichment activities are limited to a single facility using the first-generation centrifuge for 10 years. Other facilities will be modified to avoid proliferation risks. ♦ To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will regularly use all Iran’s nuclear facilities. ♦ The agreement stipulates that in return for verifiable compliance with its commitments, Iran will receive relief from the U.S., European Union, and UNSC nuclear-related sanctions. ♦ On 5th January, 2020, after the airstrike on the Baghdad Airport that targeted and killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Iran announced that it would no longer comply with the restrictions of the agreement, but would continue to coordinate with the IAEA to restore compliance.

    UK To Abolish The Tampon Tax

    17 days ago
    Beginning in 2021, the UK abolished the 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on women’s sanitary products, commonly referred to as the tampon tax, & many activists call it sexist. Now it joins countries/regions that have eliminated this tax, including India, Australia and Canada. Highlights: ♦ Until December 31, the United Kingdom was still part of the European Union. During this period, regular products such as sanitary napkins and tampons were classified as non-essential goods, requiring member states to impose a 5% tax on them. ♦ Today, Britain has withdrawn from the ranks of 27 member states, and it is not subject to its directives. According to the directive, since 1973, hygiene products have been subject to five different VAT rates-the lowest rate applicable since 2001 is 5%. ♦ As a result, tax cancellation has been well received by women's rights activists and Brexit supporters. ♦ The EU itself has been abolishing regular product taxes. In 2018, the European Union issued proposals to change tax rules, but these proposals have not yet been accepted by all members ♦ The British government estimates that the removal of the tampon tax will save the average woman about 40 pounds in her lifetime- as a pack of 20 pounds will be cheaper by around 7 pence and 12 sanitary pads by 5 pence.

    Cabinet Approved MoU Between India And Bhutan

    22 days ago
    The United Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Bhutan on the peaceful use of outer space. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on November 19, 2020. Highlights: ♦ The agreement enables the two countries to seek cooperation in space science, navigation, planetary exploration, use of space systems, spacecraft and ground systems. ♦ The memorandum of understanding will help establish a joint working group. The group will be created by ISRO members and the Ministry of Information and Communication of Bhutan. ♦ The agreement will provide opportunities to explore cooperation in satellite communications, space science, satellite navigation and outer space exploration. ♦ The use of outer space between countries and between countries is determined following the Outer Space Treaty. As of June 2020, 110 countries have become parties to the Outer Space Treaty. ♦ The Outer Space Treaty prohibits the placement of nuclear weapons in space. Moreover, it only restricts the use of the moon and other celestial bodies for peaceful purposes. It established that outer space could be explored freely, but no country can claim sovereignty over outer space. ♦ The Outer Space Treaty does not prohibit military activities in space. Besides, it also allows the weaponization of space, with some exceptions, such as establishing military bases and military exercises on celestial bodies. ♦ The Outer Space Treaty was adopted by the United Nations in 1963 and signed by Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States in 1967. Other treaties such as the Moon Treaty were also signed while using outer space. However, none of these treaties has been widely accepted as the Outer Space Treaty.

    Indias Minister Met The Top Leaders of Qatar

    23 days ago
    India's External Affairs Minister met with Qatar's top leaders and discussed strengthening economic and security cooperation between the two countries. This visit is part of India's ongoing outreach to West Asia, which the government considers to be part of its neighbourhood expansion. Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Highlights: ♦ India and Qatar agree to maintain regular consultation and coordination on all issues of mutual concern (including energy, power, petrochemical, investment, infrastructure, development, project export and education) in multilateral forums. ♦ Discussed ways to strengthen multi-faceted bilateral relations in the fields of energy, trade, investment, food processing, healthcare, education, culture, national defence and security. ♦ India thanked Qatar for taking care of the people in the Indian community during the Covid-19 pandemic. ♦ India and Qatar maintained close high-level contacts during the pandemic. ♦ India appreciated the Qatar Businessmen Association’s commitment to establishing a business partnership with India and briefed them on the new opportunities brought by Atmanirbhar Bharat. ♦ The leader of Qatar appreciated the contribution of the Indian community in Qatar and reviewed his visit to India. Recent Developments: Both countries have decided to set up a special task force to promote investment from the Qatar Investment Authority as part of India's continued promotion to major countries in West Asia to overcome the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Both parties agree to institutionalise measures to promote and protect workers' rights, including solving labour problems and promoting people's movement between the two countries safely and reliably.

    Japan To Join Five Eyes Network

    23 days ago
    The Five Eyes Network consists of five countries: Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States and New Zealand. Japan has now joined the "Five Eyes" network, becoming the sixth eye. Highlights: ♦ Five Eyes cooperates to respond to the increasing threats from China and North Korea. The Five Eyes countries are parties to the multilateral Anglo-American Agreement. This is a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence. ♦ This is an intelligence alliance. The Five Eyes Alliance's origin can be traced back to the "Atlantic Charter" issued in August 1941. It set goals for the post-war world. ♦ The Atlantic Charter is a statement issued on August 14, 1941. It clarified the goals of Britain and the United States towards the world after the Second World War. ♦ Among the Five Eyes countries, New Zealand is China's second most dependent country on 513 commodities. New Zealand is closely followed by the United States (414 species), Canada (367 species) and the United Kingdom (229 species). Therefore, these countries must increase their supply chains to protect their domestic products and promote exports. ♦ The United States is trying to add three democracies India, South Korea and Japan to the "Five Eyes Network." The United States believes that its intelligence should be used for both economic and strategic purposes.

    Shaheen-IX - an exercise between the Pakistan and the People's Liberation Army

    27 days ago
    China asked India to "objectively" observe the month-long military exercises between China and the Pakistani Air Force amid increasing tensions with India. Highlights: ♦ The "Shaheen-IX" or "Eagle-IX" exercise is an exercise between the Pakistan Air Force and the People's Liberation Army Air Force. ♦ Shaheen-IX is the ninth in the series and which is conducted each year in both countries on alternate basis. ♦ The first such exercise was held in Pakistan in 2011. ♦ Other exercises between China and Pakistan - Sea Guardians: Bilateral Naval exercise ♦ India China exercises - Hand In Hand: Bilateral Army exercise

    Mission Sagar III INS Kiltan Arrives At Ho Chi Minh City

    27 days ago
    The Indian Naval Ship “Kiltam” reached the coast of the Vietnamese city, As part of the Sagar-III mission. The Sagar mission is an initiative by India to provide Covid-19-related assistance to the countries in the Indian Ocean Littoral States. Mission Sagar-III: ♦ In accordance with the vision of the Prime Minister SAGAR (Security and Growth of All People in the Region), execute the Sagar III mission. ♦ The mission reaffirmed India’s status as a reliable partner and reaffirmed the status of the Indian Navy as the Preferred Security Partner and First Responder. ♦ The mission also emphasized the importance it attaches to ASEAN countries and further strengthened existing ties. India-Vietnam bilateral relationship: ♦ The civilizational relationship between India and Vietnam has a history of two thousand years. ♦ Due to active economic participation and increasing integration on issues of common interests, bilateral relations have recently become stronger. ♦ The bilateral relationship was upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2016.

    GalSafe Pigs approved by Food and Drug Administration

    31 days ago
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first intentional genomic alteration (IGA) of a series of domestic pigs called GalSafe pigs. Highlights: ♦ Genetically modified (GM) pigs have been approved for food and medical use in the United States. ♦ Pigs are the second genetically modified animal approved for consumption after genetically modified salmon in 2015. ♦ Genetically modified pigs are carefully designed to eliminate α-gal (a sugar that can cause allergic reactions). ♦ This is the first time that genetically modified animals have been approved for human food and medical use. ♦ Intentional genomic changes in animals mean the use of modern molecular techniques to make specific changes to the organism’s genome. These techniques are often referred to as "genome editing" or "genetic engineering." ♦ However, there are other technologies that can be used to make IGA in animals. For research purposes, this alteration of animal DNA sequences can be made to produce healthier meat for human consumption and to study animal disease resistance.

    IND-INDO CORPAT Between Both The Navies

    32 days ago
    The 35th edition of the India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT). IND-INDO CORPAT is being carried out between the navies of India and Indonesia. IND-INDO CORPAT: In order to strengthen maritime ties, the two navies have been implementing CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line since 2002, with the purpose of ensuring the safety and security of shipping and international trade in the region. CORPAT establishes understanding and interoperability between navies and promotes measures to prevent and stop Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy. The Indian Navy Ship (INS) Kulish and the P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) participated in the CORPAT. INS Kulish is an indigenous missile corvette. History: As part of the GOI - Government of India's vision of SAGAR (Safety and Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has been actively cooperating with countries in the Indian Ocean region to coordinate patrols, surveillance in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), pass exercises, and bilateral/multilateral cooperation exercises to strengthen Regional maritime security.

    UK And EU Have Agreed To Continue Brexit Trade Deal Talks

    36 days ago
    UK and European Union (EU) have agreed to continue negotiations on the Brexit trade deal and drop the December 31 deadline, end of transition period for a post-Brexit trade deal.  11 month period has been finalized until December 31, 2020.During this period, the UK continues to participate in the EU customs union and single market. Highlights: ♦ The transition period ensures that there is no  is not a sudden shock but a degree of continuity that enables both sides to secure an orderly Brexit, minimizing disruption to citizens, businesses, governments, as well as to international partners. ♦ In post-Brexit trade agreement negotiations, significant differences remain on three critical issues: equal opportunity, governance and fisheries. The United Kingdom rejected the "evolution mechanism" or the "parity mechanism".   ♦ This mechanism aims to deter the UK from undermining the European Union if the bloc decides to raise its standards in areas such as environmental rules or workers' rights.  The UK could not accept a deal that left it bound by EU rules in the future.   ♦ The UK wants to reach an agreement through bilateral talks with EU leaders, however, the EU has already suggested that the mechanism should be managed by a joint committee of EU and UK officials, with arbitration in case of disputes and negotiations should be conducted on behalf of All 27 member states of the bloc by the committee.  ♦ The main focus is on the access of European Union fishing fleets to the UK's waters, and according to reports, France is leading the task in this area and is demanding access rights for at least 10 years, a demand that the UK does not wish to give in, claiming that it has failed in meeting the criteria for restoration control for leaving the block.

    San Isidro Movement (MSI) - Cuba

    36 days ago
    The Movement San Isidro was established two years ago and has now become a platform for Cuban dissidents both within and outside the nation. Background: ♦ The Movimiento San Isidro or San Isidro Movement (MSI) started two years ago (2018) to protest the state's censorship of works of art through Decree 349. ♦ Decree 349 is a law that gives the power to Cuban’s government to restrict cultural activities it did not approve of. ♦ To protest this Decree, artists, poets, journalists, and activists gathered in San Isidro, where black-majority lives, one of the poorest but most culturally active areas in Havana. ♦ A member of MSI, Afro-Cuban rapper Denis Solís, was arrested by the police. This led to widespread protests and strikes. ♦ Various National Governments and international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, are concerned about human rights in Cuba. ♦ Cuban diasporas in many countries continue to hold rallies to support the movement. ♦ The Cuban government claimed that the movement was funded by the United States and used to subvert the country. India Cuba Relations: India and Cuba have a close, warm and long-standing relationship. Both countries are founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement. In 1959, Ernesto Che Guevara, the commander of the Cuban- Argentinean guerrilla, paid a diplomatic visit to India and was welcomed by the then Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. In 2019, India supported the UN General Assembly resolution calling for the lifting of US sanctions against Cuba. India and Cuba agreed to cooperate in biotechnology, homoeopathy and traditional medicine systems during the President of India’s visit to Cuba in 2019.

    Israel Has Established Diplomatic Ties With Bhutan

    36 days ago
    Israel has established diplomatic ties with Bhutan. The development comes 2 days after Israel and Morocco agreed to normalize ties in a deal brokered with assistance from the USA. Highlights: ♦ In the past four months, Morocco became the fourth Arab country after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain (Abraham Accords) and Sudan to engage in hostilities with Israel. ♦ Israel has been supporting Bhutan's human resource development since 1982, especially in the field of agricultural development, benefiting hundreds of Bhutanese youth. ♦ Despite the lack of formal contact between the two countries, the two countries still maintain a cordial relationship. ♦ Israel briefly had a non-resident ambassador to Bhutan in 2010. ♦ The Israel International Development Cooperation Agency (MASHAV) has trained hundreds of Bhutanese youths since 2013. ♦ The two countries have established formal diplomatic relations and agreed to cooperate closely in various sectors. ♦ The two sides will not establish embassies in Thimphu and Tel Aviv, and will coordinate through their missions in Delhi. Significance: ♦ The establishment of diplomatic relations will open up new channels for cooperation between the two countries in water management, technology, human resource development, agricultural science and other mutually beneficial fields. ♦ Regarding tourism, Bhutan, which limits the number of people entering Bhutan, may now be more open to Israelis. ♦ Through cultural exchanges and tourism, the ties between the two peoples will also be further strengthened.

    Better Than Cash Alliance - Organized A Joint Peer Learning Exchange

    41 days ago
    The "Better Than Cash Alliance" between India and the United Nations organized a joint Peer learning exchange on FinTech solutions to achieve responsible digital payments at the last mile. Highlights: ♦ Better Than Cash Alliance is defined as a partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that aims to accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth, and advance sustainable development goals. ♦ The United Nations (UN) Capital Development Fund serves as the secretariat. ♦ India joined the "Better than Cash Alliance" in 2015 to digitize payments to achieve financial inclusion and share the success stories of Pradhan Mantri Jan DhanYojana, the world's largest financial inclusion program. ♦ The Better Than Cash Alliance is working with several state governments to achieve the goal of building knowledge and plans to enable people, governments and businesses to make digital payments.

    Indo-Nepal Link Canal Foundation Was Laid

    43 days ago
    Foundation Laying of India-Nepal Link Canal Master Project. In 1996, the Governments of India & Nepal signed a bilateral agreement called the "Mahakali Treaty". Highlights: ♦ According to the treaty, the Indian government will supply 70 MU of energy generated from the Tanakpur Power Station each year, and construct the main pipe and a 1.2-kilometre-long Indo-Nepal irrigation canal that takes off from the Tanakpur Barrage to release a predetermined amount of water. ♦ The Indo-Nepal Link Canal project includes the construction of the main pipe on the left bank of the existing Tanakpur Barrage and directing its water to the irrigation canal to Nepal. ♦ The Mahakali Treaty is a treaty between India & Nepal that involves sharing the waters of the Mahakali River. ♦ The treaty is mainly aimed at the comprehensive development of water resources in the Mahakali River and has been completed on the basis of an equal partnership. ♦ Mahakali originated in Nepal and formed a considerable distance between the two countries. The treaty recognizes the Mahakali River as the border river between the two countries. ♦ The scope of the treaty includes Sarada Barrage, Tanakpur Barrage and the proposed Pancheswar project. ♦ Starting from Sarada Barrage, the treaty gave Nepal 28.3 cubic centimetres (1,000 cubic feet) of water during the rainy season and 4.25 cubic meters (150 barrels) of water during the dry season. If Sarada Barrage is unavailable, the quantity will be provided from Tanakpur Barrage. ♦ In addition, the treaty also instructs that no less than 9.91 cubic meters (350 cubic feet) should flow downstream of the barrage to maintain and protect the river's ecosystem. ♦ Although the treaty is being implemented, the implementation process is still very late. Tanakpur Power Station: This is a Hydel power station located in Tanakpur near Banbassa, District Champawat, Uttaranchal. The capacity of Tanakpur Power Station is 94.2 MWe. The first unit was put into operation in 1992, and the last unit was put into operation in 1992. It is operated by the National Hydropower Corporation (NHPC). Utilize the hydropower potential of the Sharda River (Mahakali River in Nepal).

    A Virtual Meeting Took Place Between India And Swiss

    43 days ago
    The Indian minister and his Swiss counterpart recently held a virtual meeting. The two ministers reiterated their desire to advance the negotiations on the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (TEPA) between India and the European Free Trade Area. Highlights: ♦ The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organization of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. ♦ These countries are not part of the European Union (EU), and India is negotiating a separate trade agreement with the European Union called the "India-EU Broad-Based Trade and Investment Agreement." ♦ The proposed agreement covers trade in goods and services, investment, trade facilitation, customs cooperation, intellectual property protection and public procurement. Also discussed the India-Swiss Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) which is being negotiated. ♦ A bilateral investment treaty is a treaty between the two countries aimed at protecting the investments made by investors of the two countries. ♦ The Minister of India sought support from Switzerland to support the TRIPS exemption agreement proposed by India and South Africa in the World Trade Organization (WTO). ♦ South Africa and India call for (WTO) to suspend intellectual property (IP) related to Covid-19 to ensure fair sharing of vaccines and new technologies for pandemic control. ♦ The temporary ban will allow multiple participants to start production instead of concentrating manufacturing in the hands of a few patent holders. India and Switzerland: Since India's independence, India and Switzerland have been based on the common values of democracy and the rule of law and have had cordial and friendly relations. The Treaty of Friendship between India & Switzerland was signed in New Delhi in 1948. According to data from the Export-Import Bank, Switzerland is India's 11th largest trading partner in 2018-19. From April 2000 to September 2019, Switzerland invested approximately US$4.781 billion in foreign direct investment in India, making it the 12th largest investor country, accounting for approximately 1.07% of India's total foreign direct investment during this period. During the Swiss President's visit to India in 2003, an intergovernmental framework agreement on technical and scientific cooperation was signed, which launched the India-Swiss Joint Research Project (ISJRP) in 2005. Several research institutes of the two countries cooperate to impart the highest level of skills training in India.

    Bangladesh Signs First PTA with Bhutan

    43 days ago
    Bangladesh and Bhutan signed the first "Preferential Trade Agreement" (PTA), allowing duty-free access to a variety of commodities between the two countries. Highlights: ♦ This is the first PTA signed between Bangladesh and any country in the world. ♦ The agreement was signed on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. ♦ According to PTA 100, products from Bangladesh will enter Bhutan duty-free. 34 items from Bhutan will enter Bangladesh duty-free. ♦ It is expected that by June next year, Bangladesh will sign 11 PTA and Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Indonesia and Nepal. ♦ In 1971, Bhutan was the first country in the world to recognize Bangladesh as an independent country, followed by India.

    Bangladesh Has Started To Relocate Thousands Of Rohingya Refugees To Bhasan Char Island

    46 days ago
    Although human rights groups have called for a halt to this process, Bangladesh has begun to move thousands of Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char Island. Transporting refugees to Bhasan Char will alleviate the chronic congestion in its Cox Bazar camp, which has more than 1 million Rohingya. Humanitarian organizations and human rights organizations say that Bhasan Char is prone to floods and hurricanes. Highlights: ♦ According to the Home Affairs Ministry, there are approximately 40,000 Rohingya living in India. Over the years, they have reached India by land from Bangladesh through Bangladesh.  ♦ The government has previously notified all Rohingya in India that they are "illegal immigrants" and will be deported soon. India has no specific laws on refugees. ♦ India is not a signed the 1951 "United Nations Convention" or the 1967 "Protocol". The "Convention" concerns refugee status and is not included in the "United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Statute." ♦ However, UNHCR earlier stated that the "non-refoulment principle" is regarded as part of customary international law and is therefore binding on all countries, regardless of whether they have signed the Refugee Convention. ♦ Non-refoulement is an international law that prevents a country from returning a person to a place where they may be persecuted. ♦ Bhashan Char, also called as Thengar Char, is a small island located at the mouth of the Megna River. It belongs to Bangladesh. Rohingya: The Rohingya are an ethnic group mainly composed of Muslims who live mainly in Rakhine State in western Myanmar. They speak a dialect of Bengali instead of the usual Burmese. Although they have lived in the country for several generations, Myanmar still sees them as people who moved to their land during colonial rule. Therefore, it did not grant the Rohingya full nationality. Since they are not citizens, their actions are limited to Rakhine State. The fastest-growing refugee crisis:  In 2017, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army - ARSA, a Rohingya rebel group, attacked a police post and a military base in Rakhine State. The response of Myanmar's security forces has caused more than 7 million Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries, including India. After the armed attack, there were reports of villages being burned and civilians dead. The United Nations calls the situation of the Rohingya "the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world."

    US Drugmaker Moderna Applies For EUA

    48 days ago
    US drugmaker Moderna said it is applying for Emergency Use Authorisation(EUA)for its Covid-19 vaccine. In India, the Serum Institute of India, which is testing an AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, said it expects to seek Emergency Use Authorisation(EUA)permission in the next two weeks. Highlights: ♦ Vaccines, medicines, diagnostic tests, and medical equipment must be approved by regulatory agencies before they can be managed. ♦ In India, the regulatory agency is the Central Pharmaceutical Standards Control Organization (CDSCO). ♦ For vaccines and medicines, the safety and effectiveness of vaccines are evaluated based on test data before approval. ♦ This is a long process to ensure that the medicine or vaccine is safe and effective. ♦ In emergency situations (such as COVID-19), if there is sufficient evidence that medical products are safe and effective, regulatory agencies around the world have developed mechanisms to approve provisional approval. ♦ Final approval can only be obtained after the trials and reliable data analysis are completed; before that, the emergency use authorization (EUA) allows the drug or vaccine to be used in the public. 

    India-Suriname held 7th Joint Commission Meeting

    49 days ago
    The 7th India-Suriname Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) was held virtually on 2nd December 20202. The Ministers discussed the importance of this mechanism to deepen the political dialogue, reviewed bilateral ties, and exchanged views on regional and multilateral cooperation. The meeting was co-chaired by the Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation of the Republic of Suriname, Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin. Highlights: ♦ Ministers from both the countries discussed and reviewed views on a range of issues. ♦ Both sides agreed to further enhance the cooperation for the establishment of health, Traditional System of Medicines, creative establishments, Agriculture, Mining, Defence, Consular Cooperation and Development Partnership, Culture and Education and strengthening people to people ties. ♦ They acknowledged the significance of undertaking the developmental projects under concessional conditions which will include through Line of Credits (LOC). ♦ India’s development partnership with Suriname was noted and it covers a wide range of sectors including general supply and water supply, power generation, and transmission network. ♦ Both discussed the pipeline projects and its early implementation. This project aims to contribute to energy efficiency, energy security, and the energy mix of Suriname.

    India submitted new proposal to limit the role of WTO dispute panel in fisheries management

    49 days ago
    Government of India (GoI) has submitted a new proposal at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) on-going negotiations on prohibiting harmful fisheries subsidies. The proposal suggested that the role of the dispute settlement panel in the matters of fisheries management of coastal states should be limited and a member should be allowed to retain its sovereignty on the matter. These two proposals are key to ensure the protection of vulnerable fishers and guard the nation’s sovereignty. India also proposed to avoid special & differential treatment (S&DT) for developing countries. WTO members seek to reach an agreement on prohibiting ‘harmful’ fisheries subsidies that are estimated at $14- 20.5 billion annually that lead to over-fishing and depletion of fish stocks worldwide. India in WTO Fisheries India is playing a key role in the WTO fisheries negotiations. This agreement which is important as an agreement to limit subsidies will have a deep impact on the livelihoods of Indian fishers, small and artisanal.  World Trade Organization (WTO) WTO is the global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations.  Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland Founded: 1 January 1995 Membership: 164 member states

    Talks Held Between India and Vietnam

    51 days ago
    The Defense Ministers of India and Vietnam discussed cooperation in capacity building in the defence industry, training and cooperation in the United Nation(UN) peacekeeping operations, etc. Highlights: ♦ The two countries reiterated that the strong cooperation between India and Vietnam is an important pillar of the comprehensive strategic partnership (2016). ♦ India emphasizes the conclusion of an institutionalized framework agreement in the near future to strengthen cooperation in the defence industry. ♦ Vietnam thanks to the Indian Army for its assistance in capacity building of the Indian Defense Forces in the field of human resource development.  ♦ India is also willing to expand the scope and level of training for all three services of the Vietnamese National Defense Force at the Indian National Defense Academy. ♦ The two countries discussed cooperation in UN peacekeeping operations. ♦ They discussed cooperation in the field of hydrology, which will help share hydrological data and assist in the production of navigation maps. ♦ Vietnam also invited India to participate in the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM Plus) hosted by Vietnam in December 2020. ♦ ADMM-Plus is a platform for the ASEAN - Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its 8 dialogue partners-Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability and development in the region.

    SCO Online International Exhibition Was Commenced

    51 days ago
    The commencement of the first International Exhibition of Shared Heritage of Buddhism by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was on November 30, 2020. Highlights: ♦ The online exhibition was developed and curated by the National Museum of New Delhi and the member states of the SCO. ♦ The online exhibition uses the latest technologies such as 3D scanning, webGL platform, virtual space utilization, innovative curatorial and narrative methods. ♦ The Buddhist philosophy and art of Central Asia connect the SCO countries. ♦ The participating museums are the national museums of India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. ♦ Visitors can browse Indian Buddhist treasures from and Dhara and Mathura schools, Nalanda, Amaravati, Sarnath, etc. in virtual 3D format.

    Bilateral Cooperation between China and Nepal

    51 days ago
    China and Nepal discussed various issues related to their bilateral interests, including strengthening military cooperation between the two countries, issues related to the resumption of training and student exchange programs, and follow-up actions for defence assistance affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Highlights: Nepal established relations with China in 1955. In 1956 it recognized Tibet as a part of China and signed the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship" in 1960.  In the 1970s, the King of Nepal, Birendra, proposed Nepal as a "zone of peace" between India and China. India did not show strong interest, but China expressed support. The relationship between India and Nepal took a turn for the better in 2015, when India imposed an informal but effective blockade on Nepal, resulting in a severe shortage of fuel and medicine in Nepal. As tensions with India increased, China reopened its border with Nepal in Tibet. After the recent visit of the Chinese President, Nepal reaffirmed its commitment to the "Single China Policy", promising not to allow any troops to use its territory against China. China’s Interest: Although Nepal and India have open borders, people can move freely across the border; more and more China is trying to replace India as Nepal's largest trading partner. India is the largest economy among South Asian Countries and has become the leader of South Asian countries. China wants to contain India's growing power & status, which may threaten China's dream of becoming a superpower. Therefore, maintaining a balance of power in favour of South Asia and ensuring Nepal’s active cooperation to prevent its competitors from using the country for anti-China activities have become the main strategic goals of Beijing’s Nepal policy. The northern border between Nepal and China is entirely located in Tibet. China believes that security cooperation with Nepal is essential to control Tibetan affairs. Nepal’s Benefit: For Nepal, China is a potential supplier of goods and aid for its economic recovery. Nearly half of Nepal’s population is unemployed and more than half is illiterate. At the same time, more than 30% of Nepal’s population lives in poverty. In order to solve internal problems, Nepal needs to contact China to solve its poverty and unemployment problems. Nepal and China will make progress in the negotiations and run counter to India’s “Big Brother” approach. Through the China-Nepal Economic Corridor, Nepal seeks to end India’s dominance on its trade routes by strengthening ties with China. India’s Concern: In view of the difference in strategic weight between China and Nepal, security diplomacy can be used by China as a tool to interfere in Nepal's internal affairs. Since Nepal is India’s buffer country, seeing Nepal enter China’s sphere of influence will not serve India’s strategic interests. In addition, China's interest in "Security Diplomacy" is not limited to Nepal. China has strong financial resources, and it is difficult for India to control the expansion of China's influence in Indian neighbourhoods. The China-Nepal Economic Corridor may cause China to dump consumer goods through Nepal, which will further deteriorate the trade balance between India and China.

    Joint Trade Committee Meeting between India and Myanmar

    55 days ago
    The 7th Joint Trade Committee Meeting between India and Myanmar was held through virtual mode on 24th November 2020.  Highlights: ♦ During the consultation, both sides reviewed bilateral issues, including trade, investment, banking, connectivity, capacity building and border infrastructure upgrades. ♦ Both sides reviewed their preparations for the challenge of COVID-19 and expanded cooperation in the pharmaceutical and health sectors including traditional medicines. ♦ India-Myanmar relations are rooted in a common history, race, culture and religious ties. As the land of the Buddha, India is a pilgrimage country for the Burmese people.  ♦ The relationship between India and Myanmar has stood the test of time. The geographical proximity of the two countries helps to develop and maintain friendly relations and promotes connections between people.  ♦ India and Myanmar have a long land border of more than 1,600 kilometres and a maritime border in the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar has a large population of Indian descent (according to some estimates, about 2.5 million). ♦ India and Myanmar signed the Treaty of Friendship in 1951. The visit of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1987 laid the foundation for a stronger relationship between India and Myanmar.  ♦ The two countries have signed some agreements to strengthen bilateral cooperation. An institutional mechanism has also been established to promote regular dialogue on a range of bilateral interests.

    Indian Navy Refits Maldivian Ship CGS Huravee

    55 days ago
    Visakhapatnam Naval Shipyard completed the modification of the Maldives Coast Guard MNDF CGS Huravee. Highlights: ♦ The ship arrived in Visakhapatnam on February 22 for modification. Although it has been restricted due to the COVID19 pandemic since March 20, the Navy Shipyard’s efforts, carefully planned and executed work, and sufficient ♦ ♦ Safety makes it possible for major refurbishment/replacement of main thrusters/auxiliary equipment. equipment.  ♦ The update of the ship's power generation equipment provides an important guarantee for the durability and capability of ships. In addition, several sets of systems and equipment have been successfully overhauled to ensure that ships serving the Maldives Coast Guard have better performance and sustainability in the upcoming operating cycle.  ♦ The ship has undergone extensive port and sea trials to achieve full operational preparation. In 2006, Huravee was presented to the Maldives by India to strengthen the partnership between the two countries and further cooperation to ensure maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. ♦ It was originally owned by INS Tillanchang, a locally built Trinkat-class patrol ship. The Ship was constructed in 2001 at Garden Reach Shipyard and Engineer's Office in Kolkata. ♦ MNDF CGS Huravee (formerly INS Tillanchang) is a locally produced Trinkat-class patrol ship built in 2001 at the Garden Reach shipyard and engineers in Kolkata.  ♦ Subsequently, in 2006, the Indian government gifted it to the Maldives to strengthen the partnership between the two countries. And further cooperation to ensure maritime safety in the Indian Ocean region.

    UNDP, Invest India launches SDG Investor Map for India

    56 days ago
    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Invest India have launched the SDG Investor Map for India with an aim to help India promote Sustainable Development. Under this, it had laid 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG enabling sectors in order to balance commercial returns with catalytic development impact. Highlights: ♦ The Map will bridge the gap between high-level development targets and the need for commercially viable returns. ♦ Investing in opportunities will enhance employment and employability and push forward the inclusion of underserved communities and leverage technology. ♦ IOAs will create job opportunities and industrialization needs. ♦ It focused on inclusive business models and leverage digital technologies to deliver commercial returns and impact at scale. ♦ IOAs include Digital Platforms to service input/output needs of farmers to enable easy access to markets (Agriculture), Online Supplementary Education for K12’ (Education), Access to credit by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Low-Income Groups especially through digital platforms for Income Generating Purposes’ (Financial Services), and Tech-Enabled Remote Care Services (Healthcare).

    UAE is set to become First Arab Gulf Country to Generate Electricity from Coal

    56 days ago
    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to become the first Arab Gulf country to generate electricity from coal with an aim to turn to cleaner fuels. Most of the electricity stations in Dubai run on gas. Highlights: ♦ Dubai is starting up the $3.4 billion Hassyan coal plant, with capacity being increased from an initial 600 megawatts (MW) to 2,400 by 2023.  ♦ Coal will be supplied by Japan’s Jera Co. under a long-term agreement with Acwa Power of Saudi Arabia, which is developing the plant. ♦ The standards for pollution will be based on guidelines for natural-gas plants set by the European Union and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. ♦ In this region, Oman launched a tender for a coal project at Duqm in 2018, but it was later shelved.

    Japan Signs Pact with the Maldives

    59 days ago
    Japan is India’s strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region and has recently signed an agreement to strengthen the Maldives’ security infrastructure, which will contribute to the stability of the South Indian Ocean. Highlights: ♦ The Maldives and Japan recently signed an agreement under the Japanese government’s economic and social development plan. ♦ According to the plan, 800 million yen in grant assistance will be provided to the Maldives Coast Guard and the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center. ♦ The grant assistance will be used to further strengthen the capabilities of the Maldives Coast Guard, Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center, sub-regional centers and ships. ♦ This includes the provision of communication equipment, professional search and rescue diving equipment, which will be used by the Maldives Coast Guard in search and rescue operations. ♦ Earlier in October 2019, Japan donated 21 ambulances to the Maldives health department. Benefits: -    Fight against piracy. -    Combating violent extremism and drug trafficking. -    Ensuring a free and open Indian Ocean will bring peace and prosperity to the region. The Indian Ocean Islands, with a population of nearly 400,000, has geopolitical significance due to its superior geographical location.

    Construction of Dams by China on the Brahmaputra

    59 days ago
    The construction of several dams on the Brahmaputra River on the Chinese side (known as Yalong in China) has become an issue of repeated concern in India. As India and China continue to grow in population and economy amid increasing consumer consumption, both countries are facing water shortages and are vying to develop new projects to overcome these challenges. Brahmaputra: ♦ It originated with the name Siang or Dihang, and came from the Chemayungdung glacier in the Kailash Mountains near Mansarovar Lake.  It enters India west of Sadiya town in Arunachal Pradesh. ♦ Tributaries: Dibang, Lohit, Siang, BurhiDihing, Tista and Dhansari. ♦ This is a perennial river with some unique characteristics due to its geographical location and main climatic conditions. It is flooded twice a year. One flood was caused by the melting of snow in the Himalayas in summer, and the other was caused by monsoon flows. ♦ Due to climate change and its impact on high and low flows, flooding has increased in frequency and is destructive. China: China is home to nearly 20% of the world’s population and only owns 7% of water resources, which is also facing serious pollution caused by rapid industrialization. Compared with the water-stressed areas in the south, China's southern areas are rich in water resources. To solve this problem, China plans to connect the main rivers in these areas through canals, aqueducts and other connection projects to ensure water safety. For this reason, China has been blocking the Mekong and its tributaries and other rivers, affecting Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. As an upper-class country in Asia, China views these projects as a continuation of its historic tributary system. Smaller countries cannot effectively resist or even play an important role in negotiations. India: India has 17% of the world's population and 4% of water. Its water pressure is severe. In summer, most urban areas face water shortages. Most of India’s population lives on the Ganges Plain, where water is available all year round, but summers in the southern and western regions are harsh and dry, and rainfall on the eastern coast is scarce and unstable. India has also proposed an ambitious North-South river connection project. However, it has been criticized for potentially disrupting fragile ecosystems.

    SITMEX-20 been Concluded in the Andaman Sea

    59 days ago
    The second version of SITMEX-20 in the trilateral naval exercise of India, Thailand and Singapore ended in the Andaman Sea. SITMEX is a tripartite maritime exercise between the navies of India, Singapore and Thailand. Since 2019, the first exercise was hosted by India. Highlights: ♦ The 2020 exercise is hosted by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). In addition to improving interoperability between friendly navies, the SITMEX series of exercises also aims to enhance mutual trust and develop common understanding and procedures to enhance overall maritime security in the region. ♦The Prime Minister of India announced in the keynote speech of the Shangri-La Dialogue in June 2018 that a trilateral naval exercise has been conducted between India, Singapore and Thailand. ♦ The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue is Asia’s premier defence summit. It was launched in 2002. ♦The first Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX) hosted by the Indian Navy was conducted near Port Blair in September 2019. SITMEX is conducted once a year. ♦The SITMEX series of exercises aims to enhance the interoperability between the Indian Navy, Singapore Navy (RSN) and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) and absorb best practices. ♦It also aims to strengthen mutual trust and develop common understandings and procedures to enhance overall maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region. This move is in line with India's SAGAR (Safety and Growth for All in the Region) vision. ♦The 2020 version of this exercise is hosted by RSN (Singapore). The Indian Navy deployed the indigenous anti-submarine warfare frigate INS Kamota and guided-missile frigate INS Kamuk for this exercise.

    SIMBEX-20 to Be Hosted Indian Navy

    59 days ago
    The Indian Navy will host the SIMBEX-20 exercise in the Andaman Sea. SIMBEX represents the annual Singapore-India maritime bilateral exercise. SIMBEX was established between the Indian and Singaporean navies in 1993. Highlights: ♦ The 27th edition of India's SIMBEX-Singapore bilateral maritime exercise is scheduled to be held in the Andaman Sea from November 23 to 25, 2020. ♦ The annual bilateral exercises started in 1994 aimed at enhancing mutual interoperability and absorbing best practices from each other. ♦ The 2020 version of SIMBEX will witness the participation of Indian navy ships, including the destroyer Rana and integrated Chetak helicopters, and the locally-built frigates Kamorta and Karmuk. ♦ In addition, the IN submarine Sindhuraj and P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft will also participate in the exercise.

    Indo-Thai CORPAT Was Conducted

    60 days ago
    30th edition of the Indo-Thai CORPAT (Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol) was conducted in November 2020. This is a cooperative exercise between the Indian Navy and the Thai Navy. Highlights: ♦ The Indian navalshipKarmuk, which is a native missile "Corvette" participated in the exercise. ♦ CORPAT establishes understanding and interoperability between navies and promotes measures to prevent and stop illegal and unreported illegal fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy. ♦ By exchanging information to prevent smuggling, illegal immigration and maritime search and rescue operations, it further enhances business synergy. About the Indo – Thai CORPAT: ♦ This is a cooperative exercise between the Indian Navy and the Thai Navy. ♦ It has been conducted twice a year since 2003. ♦ This exercise reflects the joint commitment of the two militaries to the peaceful Indian Ocean and international maritime security and cooperation. 

    India and Bhutan to Launch Rupay Card Phase-2 in Bhutan

    61 days ago
    The Prime Ministers of India and Bhutan will virtually launch the second phase of the RuPay card in Bhutan in November 2020. Highlights: ♦ During the visit of the PM of India to Bhutan in August 2019, the two prime ministers jointly initiated the first phase of the project. ♦ The implementation of the first phase of the Bhutan RuPay card enables Indian tourists in Bhutan to access ATMs and point-of-sale terminals in Bhutan. ♦ Now, the second phase will allow Bhutanese cardholders to access the RuPay network in India.

    Foreign Office Consultations Between India and Kazakhstan Held

    61 days ago
    Foreign Office Consultations between India and Kazakhstan held The 7th round of Foreign office consultations was held between India and Kazakhstan was held on November 17, 2020. Highlights: ♦ During the consultation, the 2 sides reviewed the entire scope of bilateral cooperation within the framework of their strategic partnership. ♦ Consultations covered political, economic and commercial, energy, defence, space, consular and cultural affairs. ♦ Signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on "India grant assistance for the implementation of high-impact community development projects in Kazakhstan".  

    Mission Purvodaya - Japan to Become a Partner Country

    61 days ago
    The Union Minister of the Iron &Steel and the Japanese ambassador to India met with the Chief Minister of Odisha State to discuss the ways for Japan to become a partner country of the Purvodaya Mission. Highlights ♦ The Purvodaya delegation in the steel industry envisages the establishment of an integrated steel hub in eastern India. ♦ Of India’s anticipated new steel production capacity, more than 75% of the resources will come from eastern India, and Odisha alone will exceed 100 MTPA. ♦ High-grade steel, downstream industries, auxiliary equipment, capital goods and cluster development have great scope for growth. ♦ Japan’s technical expertise and investment will further strengthen the steel sector in Odisha and promote socio-economic growth. ♦ It is estimated that by 2030-31, of the 300 million tons of production capacity, this region alone can exceed 200 million tons. ♦ The mission aims to accelerate the development of eastern India by establishing an integrated steel hub.

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