Current Affairs on International Relations | December 2020

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Current Affairs on International Relations | December 2020

Current Affairs on International Relations December 2020

24th December 2020

EAM S Jaishankar discusses bilateral cooperation with Spanish counterpart

Mr. S. Jaishankar, the Union External Affairs Minister held a virtual meeting with Arancha Gonzalez Laya, the foreign minister of Spain, for analyzing the bilateral cooperation between the two nations. The two ministers discussed and agreed on maintaining the momentum of cooperation, especially in the areas of defense,  cooperation, mobility, and energy.  Reformed multilateralism and regional issues were also discussed by the two leaders.

 Kerala Government and UN Women collaborate for India’s first Gender Datahub

The government of Kerala has decided to collaborate with the United NationsWomen for the establishment of India’s very first gender data hub. The MoU signed discusses the framework of the said co-operation. The Gender Hub is in tandem with the vision of the conference on Gender equality conducted in 2015. This collaboration is set to help in deepening and broadening the various initiatives for gender equality and women empowerment which were launched by Gender Park in Kerala.

21st December 2020

India-Japan Samvad conference 2020: PM Narendra Modi proposes library of traditional Buddhist literature

Recently the 6th India-japan Samvad conference was held virtually through video conferencing. India was represented by PM Modi. The contribution of Buddha and Buddhism were discussed, and its relevance in present times acknowledged. India proposed the setting up of Buddhist literature and scriptures, and assured will stock up the library well. The library will be a re[ository of literature, and provide a platform for the research and dialogue, a Samwad between human beings, societies, and man and nature. 

18th December 2020

 India and UK to set up a joint task force for mutual recognition of academic degrees

India and the United Kingdom have set up a task force for the initiation of the Mutual Recognition of Degrees. This initiative has been launched as part of the National Education Policy of 2020. The discussions have taken place between Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, and Foreign Secretary of United Kingdom Dominic Raab. The task force is being set up by both the countries will work towards mutual recognition of academic qualifications. This shall help in the internationalization of the Indian education system. The task force has been given time until the end of 2021 to evolve a synchronized education system

 

18 December 2020

MoU between India and the United States to exchange information in the electricity sector.


The cabinet has approved an MoU between the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) of India and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of the United States. This MoU shall help nhimprovement of  the regulatory and policy framework of establishing an effective wholesale electricity market and thereby improving the  grid reliability.

 

17 December 2020

US has put India on the ‘Currency Manipulators Monitoring list’

 The U.S. Treasury has  added  three new names-  India, Taiwan, Thailand to a watch list of countries that it suspects devaluing their currencies against the dollar. To be tagged as a currency manipulator, a country must at least have a $20 billion-plus bilateral trade surplus with the U.S., Foreign currency intervention exceeding 2% of GDP, and global current account surplus exceeding 2% of GDP. Being deemed as a currency manipulator shall not immediately attract any penalties. The tag tends to harm the confidence about a country in the global financial markets.

 

India and Bangladesh have reopened the Chilahati-Haldibari railway link. 

India and Bangladesh have reopened the Chilahati-Haldibari railway link. after 55 years to enhance connectivity and transport between the two nations. The link was cut off during the India and Pakistan war in 1965.  This move shall enhance the railway network accessibility, and shall also give an impetus to the economic development and bilateral trade in the region.  The 75 kms track will also help in connecting the country with the Siliguri corridor and render better connectivity with  the North-Eastern states.

 

16 December 2020

UK Prime Minister invited to be the Chief Guest during the republic day celebration

India recently invited the United Kingdom (UK)’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson as chief guest for Republic Day 2021. It is a practice by India to invite the premieres of those nations to the event with who India looks forward to foster new relationships or bolster the existing. The invitation to the PM of UK signifies that India wishes to initiate partnership with the nation post Brexit situation. Britain is instrumental in resolving various issues faced by India like- countering China, Alternate to RCEP, providing FTAs.

14th December 2020

NIBIO signs MoU with cGanga for the development of sludge management framework in India.

At the 5th India Water Impact Summit, the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research(NIBIO) has signed an MoU for the development of a sludge management framework in India in association with cGanga, established in 2016 at IIT Kanpur as the think-tank of the National Mission for Clean Ganga. It will help to improve India's water management by adopting the best practices in Norway.

India, Iran, Uzbekistan hold the first Trilateral Working Group meeting on the joint use of Chabahar port.

The first trilateral meeting between India, Iran & Uzbekistan was recently held. In the meeting, decisions were made regarding the discussed joint use of the Chabahar port, which India had constructed in Iran, for trade and transit purposes and enhanced regional connectivity. The role played by the port to deliver humanitarian assistance during the COVID pandemic was acknowledged. India proposed to hold Chabahar Day on the sidelines of the International Maritime Summit.

Swadhinata Sarak’ to be opened between India and Bangladesh

 Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dr. A K Abdul Momen has given a statement that the ‘Swadhinata Sarak’  will open between India and Bangladesh on March 26, 2021. The road shall connect Indian Meherpur to Mujibnagar district in  Bangladesh.

13th December 2020

 India and  Myanmar will exchange information To Control Drug Trafficking

India and Myanmar have agreed to share intelligence information with each other to conduct follow-up investigations in drug seizure especially heroin and (ATS) type stimulants cases, after the conclusion of the 5th India-Myanmar bilateral meeting conducted on Drug Control Cooperation.

12th December 2020

ADB has approved loan to improve the primary health care in India’s urban areas

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $300 million loan to provide impetus to and improve the access to comprehensive primary health care in the urban areas in India. This program is expected to benefit an estimated 256 million urban residents which also includes  51 million people dwelling in the slum areas of different states.

India and Better Cash Alliance come up with FinTech Solutions.

Recently, the Department of Economic Affairs ( DEA), Ministry of Finance, and UN-Based Better Than Cash Alliance have organized a joint Peer learning exchange ‘Accelerating Responsible Digital Payments:  Unlocking the Role of Fintech in Last-Mile Service Delivery’ on fintech solutions for responsible digital payments at the last mile where leaders from States and Union Territories across India participated.  FinTech Policies, Blockchain, and AI Policies and regulations have been announced by India.

 India notifies rules to serve warrants in the Maldives

As per the agreement signed between Maldives and India, The Ministry of Home Affairs has notified the rules for Indian courts for sending summons and search warrants to the accused persons in the Maldives, and are wanted by the Indian police and Central investigating agencies in India. The arrangement on a court summons between the two countries to have been reached in Colombo during a bilateral meeting with Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi with National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval.

10th December 2020

MoU between India and Suriname gets approved by the Central Government

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the  Memorandum of Understanding between India and the Ministry of Health of Suriname to encourage Cooperation between the two nations in the field of Health and Medicine.

Prime Minister of India and President of  Uzbekistan will be holding their first virtual summit 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be hosting a virtual summit with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on December 11, 2020, this will be the first bilateral meeting between India and Uzbekistan. The objective of this is to discuss the entire spectrum of the bilateral relationship between India and Uzbekistan, views on regional and global issues will also be exchanged.

MoRTH has signed an MoU with Austria on Technology Cooperation

 The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Austria on cooperation in the field of Technology in the Road Infrastructure Sector. The objective is to create an effective framework for bilateral cooperation in Road Transportation, infrastructure development.

7th December 2020

Indo-German initiative 'IGnITE' has been  launched to develop 40,000 skilled workforces by 2024

Siemens, with the support of the Ministry of Skill Development Entrepreneurship, has partnered the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation & Development of the Federal Republic of Germany and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to launch IGnITE: Indo-German Initiative for Technical Education

4th December 2020

Vande Bharat Mission Phase VIII has been extended till December 31

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has informed that Phase VIII of Vande Bharat Mission has been extended till December 31. Around 897 international flights have been scheduled to operate from 15 countries across the globe, Under this phase. An estimated 1.5 lakh people can be repatriated by the proposed flights. Till December 3rd, about 34.1 lakh Indians have been repatriated through different modes.

The US Senate has passed the High-Skilled Immigrants Act

The United States Senate passed the 'Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act' which brings in a huge relief to thousands of Indian nationals currently stuck in the Green Card limbo, as this bill aims at doing away with the current restrictions that exist on employment-based green cards. The bill, thus, shall increase the per-country cap that is present on family-based immigrant visas from 7 % of total such visas in a given year to 15 percent.  As per the USCIS, there are over 800,000 Indians who are waiting in line for an employment-based green card in the USA as of April 2020.

India has extended anti-dumping duty on steel products 

India has extended the anti-dumping duty on imports of cold-rolled flat stainless steel products from China, Korea, South Africa, the European Union, Taiwan, Thailand, and the USA. The duty is applicable on products of the width 600-1250 mm, and above 1250 mm of non-bonafide usage. This extension of the anti-dumping duty is up to January 31, 2021. Anti-dumping duty was first imposed for the very first time in 2015.

India has signed a Mou with on Intellectual Property Cooperation

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade under the aegis of the  Ministry of Commerce and Industry has signed the MoU with the US Patent and Trademark Office which falls under the Department of Commerce of the United States of America. The objective of the  MoU is to bolster co-operation in the field of Intellectual Property. 

2nd December 2020

Kaspersky partners with Indian CERT-In 

Russian based Kaspersky partners  and Indian CERT-In enter into a partnership to create secure cyberspace

Key Point:

  • In a bid to create safe and secure cyberspace in India, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky  has signed an MoU with the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) 
  • CERT-IN falls under the aegis of the MeitY. 
  • Under this MoU,  mechanisms to detect the latest cybersecurity threats shall be created.
  • The Director-General of CERT-In is Dr. Sanjay Bahl

India has signed a $133 million loan agreement with ADB

The loan agreement signed between the two entities for the power distribution sector of Meghalaya.

Key Point:

  • The $133 mn loans from the Asian Development Bank will be used to modernize Meghalaya’s power distribution network. 
  • This will improve the quality of power supplied to households, industries, and businesses. 
  • The fund will support the state’s 24x7 Power for All initiative
  • Country Director of ADB India is Takeo Konishi
1st December 2020

The highest FDI inflows to India come from Singapore and the USA

According to data published by the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, the highest FDI to India comes from Singapore and the USA

Key Point: 

  • Singapore has invested about Rs 62,084 crore 
  • The USA has invested Rs 53,266 crore into India between April & Sep ’20.
  •  In the fiscal 2nd quarter, India had received $28 billion of FDI inflows
  • The software sector is the biggest recipient of FDI.
  • Gujarat is the highest recipient of FDI inflows, receiving about ₹1.19 lakh cr. 

India and  France launch their bilateral fast track mechanism

India and France have launched a bilateral dialogue on investments at the 18th Joint Committee Meeting.

Key Points:

  • The two nations hold a Joint Committee Meeting to accelerate trade & investment relations for economic recovery in the post-pandemic world.
  •  Both nations launched a "Bilateral Fast track" mechanism in investments in the 18th session of the Joint Committee.
  •  France stands in 7th position in terms of FDI inflows to India.