India and its International Relations in November 2020, Current Affairs
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Current Affairs on International Relations -30th November 2020
UNDP Accelerator Lab India has launched GRID to foster inclusive development
United Nations Development Program Accelerator Lab India has launched the Grassroot Innovation Database (GRID).
- The aim of GRID is to foster inclusive development.
- The database contains 1,500 simple to complex solutions across agriculture and technology which can be implemented at the community level
- Accelerator Labs are UNDP’s new way of working in the development
Indo and Japan cooperation wins the OECD MAP 2019 award.
Indo-Japan cooperation won OECD Mutual Agreement Procedure for the highest agreement ratio in transfer pricing cases
- Mutual Agreement Procedure comprises of tax administrations consult to resolve disputes regarding the application of double tax conventions
- The 2019 Award for highest agreement ratio for a pair of jurisdictions for transfer pricing cases.
India has hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of Government for the first time
India is hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of Government summit for the 1st time.
- India gained full membership of the SCO grouping in 2017.
- Vice President Venkaiah Naidu will be the chair of the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads.
- The first-ever SCO Start-up forum to also be launched this year.
India and Myanmar hold 7th Joint Trade Committee Meeting
The 7th Joint Trade Committee Meeting between India and Myanmar was held through virtual mode.
- Both the nations reviewed various bilateral issues ranging from:
- Capacity building, and
- Up-gradation of border infrastructure.
- The Meeting was Chaired by Piyush Goyal and his Myanmar Counterpart Dr. Than Myint
India and Vietnam sign Implementation Agreement on Hydrography
India and Vietnam have signed an Implementation Agreement (IA) on hydrography
- Hydrography involves the measurement of the depth of water and other related parameters.
- The bilateral meeting between the two nations took place between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich.
Current Affairs on International Relations -27th November 2020
APEDA holds Virtual Buyer Seller Meet
A virtual meet of APEDA was recently held with Germany.
- Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority represented India in the meeting with Germany.
- The focus of the meeting was the continuation of its endeavor to promote the export of agricultural products through the virtual medium.
- It demonstrates the quality and importance of Indian agricultural products grapes, fresh fruits & vegetables.
- APEDA is the Apex body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry,
India and Finland MOU
An MoU has been signed between India and Finland
For the developing cooperation in the field of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.
- Indian and Finnish partnership and support, exchange best practices.
- The areas of the partnership are prevention of Air and water pollution; Waste management; low-carbon solutions and sustainable management of natural resources including forests, etc.
Current Affairs on International Relations -24th November 2020
The international version of the UMANG App
The international version of the UMANG App has recently been launched by the government of India.
- The Indian international students,
- Indian tourists abroad, and
to avail of the Indian government services, anytime.
- Ministry of Electronics and Information technology
- Ministry of External Affairs
An online conference organized to mark the three years of UMANG and the milestone of 2000 plus services.
- It can be downloaded from the Play Store of specific countries.
- It is expected that Digital India shall lead to digital inclusion and bridge the digital divide. He added that it can be achieved by technology which is homegrown as well as inclusive.
- The app will create an experience of bringing India to the world through the services of ‘Indian Culture’ that are available on UMANG
- UMANG e-book and UMANG Awards were also launched
Selected countries for which international version is launched:
- The United States of America
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
Current Affairs on International Relations -23rd November 2020
India International Cherry Blossom Festival
India International Cherry Blossom Festival was canceled for this year.
It was to be held in:
Reason for cancellation:
COVID 19 pandemic
- The India International Cherry Blossom Festival is the cak=lendar event of Meghalaya
- It attracts a record number of tourists annually
- Shillong hosts the only Cherry Blossoms festival in India.
Current Affairs on International Relations -22nd November 2020
G 20 Summit 2020
The Prime Minister of the nation, Mr. Narendra Modi has called for a new Global Index
- A new Global Index has been called for by India for the post- covid world.
- The suggested index is to comprise 4 key elements:
- Creation of vast talent pool
- Ensuring that technology reaches all segments of society
- Transparency in the system of governance
- Dealing with nature
- India is to host the G20 summit in the year 2023
Current Affairs on International Relations -21st November 2020
Australia will be temporarily hosting ISRO’s satellite tracking facilities
The space agencies of India and Australia are working together to position temporarily Indian tracking facilities in Australia.
- Earth observation and data analytics, robotics, and space life sciences are the components of the program.
- This is in support of India’s planned human space flight program.
- MoU signed between India and Australia in 2012 underpins the space cooperation between the two nations.
Current Affairs on International Relations -20th November 2020
India-European Union Counter Terrorism Dialogue
India and the European Union held Counter Terrorism Dialogue was held on 19th November 2020.
Condemnation of terrorism in all forms.
- The dialogue reviewed the threats posed by UN-sanctioned terrorist entities.
- India and the European Union are expected to soon conclude the Free Trade Agreement.
- The European Union emphasized the need to increase India’s investments in the field of Green Energy.
- EU is actively working towards mitigating climate change and has set a target of becoming carbon neutral and expects India to be on board with it.
- . Carbon Neutrality refers to is the achievement of net-zero carbon dioxide emission.
- European Union is the largest trading partner of India
RuPay Card Phase-2
The Second Phase of the RuPay Card was launched by Prime Minister Modi in Bhutan
- Prime Minister Modi and
- Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Lotay Tshering
To boost the ties between the two countries.
- Phase-1 of the project was launched during the Prime Minister's visit to Bhutan in August 2019.
- RuPay Card debit and credit card payment network based out of India.
- It has acceptance at POS devices, ATMs, and e-commerce websites.
- The RuPay Card Holders in Bhutan will now be able to easily access the RuPay network in India.
Current Affairs on International Relations -19th November 2020
DIPAM has signed an agreement with World Bank
Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has signed an agreement with the World Bank
DIPAM will receive advisory services for asset monetization.
Approved by :
The Finance Ministry
- Facilitating the monetization of the non-core assets of government CPSEs was mandated by DIPAM with under strategic disinvestment or closure and enemy property of the value of 100 crore and above.
- DIPAM has a framework for monetizing non-core assets.
- The World Bank advisory project is aimed at analyzing public asset monetization in India.
- This will help to benchmark its institutional and business models against international best practices as well as supporting the development of operational guidelines and capacity building for their implementation.
The 7th round of Foreign Office Consultations between India and Kazakhstan was recently concluded.
- The two sides reviewed the entire scope of bilateral cooperation within the framework of their Strategic Partnership.
- Political, economic and commercial, energy, defence, space, consular and cultural matters were discussed in the consultation.
- An MoU was signed on Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects in Kazakhstan
BRICS counter-terror strategy
BRICS has unveiled a counter-terrorism strategy to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation among the member countries for effectively combating the threat.
Overview of the Strategy:
- At the virtually held bloc’s annual summit the new strategy was adopted.
- The aim of the strategy is to enhance the pragmatic cooperation among security and law-enforcement authorities of the member nations to forestall and combat terrorism, including by sharing timely and accurate information.
- The focus will be on suppression of the facilitation of terrorist groups, entities, and associated persons by not making available financial and material resources to them.
- The BRICS also resolved to counter “extremist narratives” conducive to terrorism and vowed to require steps to make sure that the web and social media platforms aren't used for recruitment and radicalization by terror groups.
- The high representatives of BRICS for security be entrusted with leading the review of the implementation of this strategy, and therefore the BRICS counter-terrorism working party (CTWG) shall be entrusted with its implementation.
These efforts will help prevent further geographical expansion of terrorism and address the threats posed by terrorists returning from conflict zones to countries of departure or traveling to third countries.
Current Affairs on International Relations -18th November 2020
Bhimsen Adarsha Higher Secondary School in Nawalpur
India has built a new building of Bhimsen Adarsha Higher Secondary School in Nawalpur, Nepal.
of Nepali Rupees 25.83 million
The Nepal-Bharat Maitri Development Cooperation
Inaugurated via video-conferencing by:
- Representatives of the Embassy of India, Kathmandu,
- District Coordination Committee, School Management Committee, and
- Local representatives, including students and faculty of the school.
Implemented by :
- The school located in Devchuli-07 of Nawalpur
- It was established in 1969
- The school offers classes till 10+2.
- Over 55% of the students of the school are girls
- The new building has three floors and includes 16 classrooms, labs, meeting hall, administration & staff rooms, canteen, medical room, and sanitation facilities.
- The new school building, implemented under the long-standing High Impact Community Development Projects
- It exemplifies robust cooperation between India and Nepal in the education sector
The new building of Nepal school built by India inaugurated
The newly built infrastructure of Shree Laxminiya Janata Secondary School at Kumhrauda in the Dhanusha district of Nepal was handed over to Nepal by the Indian Government.
Provided by: Indian government
Amount: Nepalese Rs 26.24 million
Grant sanctioned under: "Nepal-Bharat Development Cooperation"
- The representatives of the Embassy of India, Kathmandu
- Department of Urban Development Building Construction;
- Federal Project Implementation Unit, Dhanusha;
- The School Management Committee; and
- Local representatives.
- The school is a three-floor building
- It includes 15 classrooms and sanitation facilities.
- The project is a part of the High Impact Community Development Project under an agreement between the Governments of India and Nepal
- India's development partnership with Nepal is reflected by the project.
- The concerted effort by the Government of Nepal in augmenting infrastructure in the field of education was acknowledged
- India has previously completed 428 HICDPs in Nepal
India - Nepal launches 3rd integrated check-post for trade.
The two countries launched the construction of the 3rd ICP at Nepalgunj, Nepal on the 12th of November.
- To bring customs and immigration facilities under a single roof
- To ease out cross border movement of cargo vehicles, trucks
- Indian side: Ruapdiha, in UP
- Nepali side: Nepalgunj
Area covered: 61.5 ha of land
Estimated project cost: INR 147.12 crores
- Will be built by the Lands Ports Authority of India
- The construction commenced already in May 2020
- Will be built by Pine based, Rajdeep Buildcon Pvt. Ltd
- Under the supervision of RITES
- Will be built over a period of 2 years
- The construction has just been launched.
- India will construct the ICP on both sides
- It will facilitate facilities like refrigerated cargo, warehousing, medicinal, plant, animal quarantine areas, and amenities for passengers and drivers.
- It will be well equipped with security features like CCTV cameras, 24*7 power backup, wastewater treatment.
- ICP will encourage connectivity between the two countries, promote mutually beneficial trade, and fillip people to people ties
- The other two ICPs are at Birgunj and Biratnagar
Current Affairs on International Relations -17th November 2020
Indian cities make it to the WEF list for a pioneering roadmap for smart cities
The World Economic Forum has selected 36 cities from 22 countries for pioneering a new global policy roadmap for the smart cities that are developed by the G20 Global smart Cities Alliance.
The four Indian cities-
- Bengaluru, and
- The pioneer cities have launched their concerning activities on November 17 at a global event.
- This was broadcast by the Smart City Expo World Congress which is the world’s premier smart cities event.
- The COVID-19 situation has accelerated the adoption of new technology by the cities as the governments struggle for managing the growing pandemic with limited resources.
- The state governments are expected to collaborate with the G20 cities for the formulation of the policy frameworks to improve the quality of life of our citizens by using emerging technologies.
- These 36 pioneer cities that have been selected will be collaborating with global experts.
- This will be for enhancing their city policies in areas ranging from cybersecurity and privacy protection
- They will also work towards better services for the differently-abled people as well as better broadband coverage.
Other cities selected by WEF:
The virtual summit between India and Luxembourg to be held
The bilateral summit talks will span the entire spectrum of mutual relations including strengthening of India-Luxembourg cooperation in the post-COVID world.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi
- Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel
Ministry of External Affairs.
- This is important as it shall be the first stand-alone summit between India and Luxembourg in the past two decades.
- The India-Luxembourg summit talks will cover the entire spectrum of bilateral relations.
- This shall include the strengthening of India-Luxembourg cooperation in the post-COVID world.
- Views on international and global issues of mutual interest will be exchanged.
- The two Prime Ministers have met previously on three occasions but never in a stand-alone summit.
- Luxembourg is one of the important financial centers globally
- Indian companies have raised capital at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange by issuing Global Depositary Receipts.
- Many Luxembourg-based investment funds also hold substantial banking and asset management market share in portfolio investments in India.
- India–Luxembourg relations were established in 1947 and Luxembourg opened its embassy in New Delhi in 2002.
- The relations between the nations have grown significantly in the last few years. In 1983, Grand Duke Jean had become the first Luxembourg Head of State to visit India
- Following the visit, there have been several major diplomatic visits by the leaders of both nations.
- Several Trade ministers and Foreign Affairs Ministers from Luxembourg have visited India.
- In 2012, India's Minister of External Affairs had visited Luxembourg and in 2015, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn visited India.
- The bilateral trade stood at $37.17 million between January and September in the year 2014.
- The imports stood at $29.38 million, while the exports from India to Luxembourg were at $7.79 million
- The number of Indian Companies listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange is about 170.
- There is also a significant Indian community living in Luxembourg and working in companies or sectors including IT, Banking and Arcelor-Mittal is also very strong
- Luxembourg in 2019 became the first European nation to host the annual Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank meeting.
India and the U.S. are looking to undertake the training of military personnel for the missions from Southeast Asian countries on the lines of the ongoing initiative for African countries, with China significantly scaling up its troop contribution for United Nations Peace Keeping missions.
India and the UN Peacekeeping:
- India has regularly been among the top troop-contributing nations to the UN
- India is the fifth largest with 5,424 personnel in eight countries.
- India contributes to the regular budget is 0.83% and 0.16% of the peacekeeping budget.
- India so far has participated in 51 of the 71 missions and contributed over 2 lakh personnel.
- India has deployed it is in Lebanon, Congo, Golan Heights, and South Sudan in addition to staff officers in other missions.
- South Sudan and Congo have been host to hospitals set up by India.
- India since 2018, has co-opted a contingent from Kazakhstan at the mission in Lebanon.
Current Affairs on International Relations -16th November 2020
USD 1 Million Aid For Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund extended by India
India has extended a financial contribution of USD 1 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The 17th ASEAN-India Summit, which was held virtually.
- At the summit, the Leaders from the 10 ASEAN countries welcomed the adoption of the new ASEAN-India Plan of Action for 2021-2025
- India’s response, as well as support to the international community, was highlighted during the meet.
- India also welcomed associations’ initiatives for fighting the pandemic.
- The rising significance of greater digital and physical connectivity between India and ASEAN was acknowledged
- India’s contribution of US $ 1 billion Line of Credit for supporting ASEAN connectivity was reiterated.
15th East Asia Summit 2020
Recently the 15th East Asia Summit was held.
India represented by:
The External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishanka on behalf of the Prime Minister of India.
The Summit was chaired by :
Nguyen Xuan Phuc, The Prime Minister of Vietnam
This was because Vietnam is ASEAN Chair in 2020
- EAS summit was attended by all the 18 EAS countries
- India underlined the key role played by the East Asia Summit as a leading mechanism of the Indo-Pacific region
- India’s support to make it stronger and more responsive was reiterated.
- EAS’s importance as the Leaders-led forum to exchange views on strategic issues was acknowledged.
- EAS leaders were briefed on India’s response to the Covid- 19 pandemic
India’s efforts to support the international community in response to the pandemic was highlighted.
Building a greater India-Canada
The third round of India-Canada Track 1.5 Dialogue was recently held on a virtual platform.
It comprised of :
independent experts will be held on a virtual platform.
To boost the bilateral relationship.
- The common challenges faced by the two nations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has given a boost to the momentum of bilateral engagement.
- The Hostage Diplomacy by Beijing, where Canadian diplomats were arrested, has pushed Canada towards India
Major area’s of bilateral cooperation
- The merchandise trade between Canada-India exceeded C$10 billion in 2019.
- The cumulative investment by Canada, which includes foreign direct investment and Canadian pension funds, is about C$55 billion.
- In the ‘Invest India’ conference in Canada, that mature Canadian investors present in the Indian market for many years were applauded and assured that no barriers or hindrance would come in their way.
- Indian students are increasingly opting for Canada for higher education,
- A about a quarter-million students spent an estimated $5 billion in tuition fees and other expenses in just the last year, which was a substantial contribution to the Canadian economy.
- 85,000 of the 330,000 new immigrants accepted by Canada last year, that is nearly 25%, were from India.
- The Indian diaspora in Canada is about 1.6 million-strong, constituting over 4% of the country’s total population.
- The major areas of bilateral cooperation can be represented by 5Es: -
- Entertainment, and
- Empowerment of women.
- The digital domain, in particular, holds immense potential, considering Canada’s proven assets in technology, the large investment in Artificial Intelligence, innovation, and capital resources, and India’s IT achievements, expanding digital payment architecture, and policy modernization.
Current Affairs on International Relations -14th November 2020
The World Health Organisation announced setting up a Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India.
WHO plans to create of Global Health Center in India.
- The announcement was made at the same platform when the creation of two future-ready Ayurveda institutions in Jaipur and Jamnagar was announced on the 5th Ayurveda Day.
- This center is expected to strengthen the evidence, research, training, and awareness of traditional and complementary medicine
- It will be a great boost to India's age-old system of medicine.
8th BRICS STI Ministerial Meet held virtually
The 8th BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial meeting held on a virtual platform to discuss S & T cooperation among the member countries.
The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia
Chair for 12th BRICS:
The Russian Federation
India was represented by:
Union Minister Harsh Vardhan
- The BRICS STI Declaration 2020 was adopted unanimously at the meeting.
- Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology among the member countries Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa was discussed in the meeting.
- The Government of India’s scheme ‘SERB–POWER’ that stands for Promoting Opportunities For Women in Exploratory Research to encourage and support emerging as well as eminent women researchers to undertake R&D activities in frontier areas of science and engineering was applauded by the BRICS nation.
Current Affairs on International Relations -13th November 2020
India and ASEAN countries have come to a consensus to explore ways to increase trade between them despite the fact that India exited from the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement.
- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a free trade agreement
- It was originally devised to consist of 16 countries across the Asia-Pacific region.
- After India’s withdrawal, it is now expected to be signed on November 15, between 10 Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) nations and China, Australia, South Korea, Japan
- This pact aims at reducing the tariffs and duties between the members so that goods and services can flow freely between them.
Reasons for India’s withdrawal:
- The trade deficit of India with the RCEP nations is about $105 billion, of which China alone accounts for $54 billion. Further relaxations of the market for the inflow of goods from these nations would enhance the deficit.
- There exists a massive issue of the influx of Chinese manufactured goods and dairy products from New Zealand flooding Indian markets which would evidently land a blow on the domestic interests.
- This trade agreement was also in contravention of the government’s Make in India initiative.
- India aims to procure specific rules of origin to ensure the trade pact wasn’t abused by non-partner countries and an auto-trigger mechanism to protect it from a surge in imports.
- Ecommerce and trade remedies are among other key areas of concern that failed to find satisfactory redressal.
- Elimination of tariffs on products from other countries, as it would negatively affect the domestic agricultural and industrial sectors.
- India is concerned about keeping 2014 as the base year for tariff reductions.
China initiates construction on rail line up to Arunachal border:
China has initiated work on a strategically significant railway line
This line is set to link:
Sichuan province with Nyingchi.
- The rail line lies very close to the Arunachal Pradesh border
- This will be the second route linking Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to the hinterland.
- Previously in 2006, the Qinghai-Tibet railway line connected Lhasa to the hinterland
- The Tawang region in Arunachal Pradesh is an area of contention between the two nations
- Building a railway line this close to the disputed border region could be an issue of national security for India
Also stay updated with :
Current Affairs on International Relations -12th November 2020
India provides food aid to African Nations
Humanitarian aid has been provided to Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea as part of India’s tradition of reaching out to the people of Africa in times of crisis.
The Ministry of External Affairs
- India provides 270 metric tonnes of food aid to the African Nations of Eritrea, Sudan, and Djibouti
- This aid comes as part of its help to the friendly nations to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and natural calamities.
- INS AIRAVAT had left Mumbai Port on October 24, 2020
- The mentioned food aid comprises rice, sugar, and wheat flour.
- ‘INS AIRAVAT’, The Indian Naval Ship is currently at the Port of Djibouti and has delivered 50 MT of food.
- This was handed over as a gift by Ashok Kumar, Ambassador of India to Mme Ifrah Ali Ahmed, Secretary-General, Ministry of Social Affairs, and Solidarity of Djibouti
- This ship is expected to reach the coast of Mombasa in Kenya next on November 20, 2020, to deliver 70 MT of food aid to South Sudan.
- Following the schedule, On November 2, 2020, INS AIRAVAT had reached Port of Sudan and delivered 100 MT of food aid
- On November 6, 2020, the Indian Navy Ship reached Port in Eritrea and had delivered 50 MT of food aid
This initiative is a part of the SAGAR-II initiative to strenthen maritime initiative with the other countries.
Current Affairs on International Relations -11th November 2020
7th ASEAN-India Summit
Recently, on the invitation of Vietnam, India has participated in the 17th ASEAN-India Virtual Summit
The current Chair of ASEAN :
The summit focused on measures to get over the economic turmoil triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and ways to further broad-base strategic ties.
ASEAN’s Centrality with respect to:
India's Act East Policy:
- Against the backdrop of aggressive moves by China, including the Ladakh standoff, India placed the ASEAN at the center of India’s Act East policy and held that a cohesive and responsive ASEAN is crucial for security and growth for beat the region.
- India's Indo-Pacific Vision and Security And Growth for everyone in the Region Vision:
- India underscored the importance of strengthening convergence between India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and therefore the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific, to make sure a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based region.
- It also highlighted the importance of cooperation by ASEAN certain the safety And Growth for beat the Region (SAGAR) Vision.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership:
- India would explore ways to increase trade despite its exit from the 15-nation RCEP agreement in 2019.
- The RCEP free trade agreement is expected to be signed on 15th November 2020 between China, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and the ASEAN Members.
- However, experts have warned that when the RCEP is adopted, trade between RCEP nations will assume primacy, which could affect trade ties with other countries including India.
South China Sea:
- Affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, safety, and security within the South China Sea, and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.
- Noted the importance of promoting a rules-based order in the region including through upholding adherence to international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Regulating Covid-19 Pandemic:
- India welcomed ASEAN’s initiatives to fight the pandemic and announced a contribution of USD 1 million to the Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund.
- It also underlined the importance of cooperation and regular exchanges in the field of traditional medicines as a source of healthy and holistic living.
Trade and Investment:
- India underlined the importance of diversification and resilience of supply chains for post-Covid-19 economic recovery.
- India demanded an early review of the ASEAN-India Trade Goods Agreement (AITIGA), which is pending for an extended time.
- Underscoring the importance of greater physical and digital connectivity, India reiterated its offer of a USD 1 billion Line of Credit to support ASEAN connectivity.
India’s Significance Highlighted by ASEAN:
- Towards promoting peace and stability in the region and India’s support to ASEAN centrality.
- Welcomed the adoption of the new ASEAN-India Plan of Action for 2021-2025.
- Acknowledged India’s capacity-building initiatives, including the Ph.D. Fellowship Programme at IITs and fixing of Centres for Excellence in Software Development and Training.
1st BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting
The first BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held.
India was represented by:
Union Minister for Finance
The agenda of the meeting:
- Outcomes of G20 Saudi Presidency in 2020
- This is a digital platform to encourage infrastructure investments and expansion of the membership of the New Development Bank.
Highlights of the meeting
- Indian FM observed that the G20 has delivered some very significant initiatives this year which includes the G20 Action Plan in response to COVID-19
- The G20 Plan has provided a broad set of guidance to navigate a collective global response to the crisis.
- G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative’s role was discussed in ensuring immediate support to address the liquidity needs of low-income countries.
- BRICS members' role is important in ensuring that concerns of emerging economies were applauded.
- On the ongoing international efforts to find a solution to the issue of taxation of the digital economy, the Minister said that a consensus solution will play an important role in ensuring fairness, equity, and sustainability of tax systems.
- The participants discussed the expansion of the membership of the New Development Bank
- India supported this proposal, and agreed on the necessary expansion of the membership of NDB and emphasized the importance of regional balance.
- Russia’s initiative to develop an integrated Digital Platform (Data Room) was also deliberated on.
20th SCO Council of Heads of State Summit
The 20th Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of State was held on November 10, 2020, in Video Conference Format.
The meeting was chaired by:
Russian President Vladimir Putin
The Indian delegation was led by:
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi
Other Important Attendees:
- The Secretary-General of the SCO Secretariat,
- Executive Director of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure,
- The Presidents of the four Observers -Belarus, Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia
- 11 of the SCO Member States were represented by their Presidents, while India and Pakistan were represented at the level of Prime Minister.
- The third meeting of the SCO that India participated in after becoming a full member in 2017.
- India will be hosting the next regular meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government scheduled toon November 30, 2020, in a virtual format.
Australia-India Water Centre inaugurated virtually
Australia-India Water Centre has recently been inaugurated in a virtual event.
This is to promote research-based on water-related subjects, teaching, and training between the two countries.
This Water Centre is led by:
- IIT Guwahati from the Indian side and
- The University of Western Sydney from the Australian side.
- 21 other partners from India and Australia.
- The MoU is for 5 years and has been signed to establish an understanding of cooperation for the Australia India Water Centre between the parties.
- This agreement will further collaboration between the two nations in capacity building, technology transfer focusing on river health, water security, safe drinking water, etc.
- This agreement that was signed by the two nations on this occasion tries to explain the cooperation between all the parties.
- All the stakeholders included parties will work closely for collaboration in the field of water research, student and staff exchanges, for a joint Master’s level course in water futures, workshops, short-term training, conferences, etc.
Current Affairs on International Relations -10th November 2020
The visit of Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to the Maldives is a significant step towards bilateral relations
Under Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih, bilateral cooperation, especially on the economic front, has become a ‘model’ that New Delhi can adopt to make the government’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy a sustained success.
India’s strategic interests in the Maldives are:
- Geographical Proximity: the Maldives is very close to the west coast of India -it is barely 70 nautical miles away from Minicoy and 300 nautical miles away from India’s West Coast. Hence a friendly relationship is needed to avoid any maritime territorial disputes.
The one-time claim of Maldives to Minicoy Island was resolved by the Maritime Boundary Treaty of 1976 between the two countries, whereby the Maldives has recognized Minicoy as an integral part of India.
- Close to Commercial Sea lines of Communication: Its situation at the hub of commercial sea-lanes running through the Indian Ocean (particularly the 8° N and 1 ½° N channels). Therefore, close cooperation of the Maldives government is needed to prevent piracy in the region and ensure the safety of trade routes
- Third Country’s interference: Maldives' potential to allow a third nation’s naval presence in the area imbues it with significant strategic importance to India, where India considers itself as an unofficial security guaranteer in the region.
- Radicalization and Threat of Terrorism: Radicalisation grew rapidly during the last decade and it was often said that the archipelago accounted for one of the highest numbers of foreign fighters in Syria in terms of per capita. India can ill-afford a neighbor who fails to check Islamic radicalization.
- Indian Diaspora: Indians are the second largest expatriate community in the Maldives with an approximate strength of around 25,000 (accounting for ~5.6% of the Maldivian population). Close cooperation with the Maldives is also important for the safety & security of Indians staying in the Maldives
- Multi-lateral Forum: Maldives is also a member of SAARC. It is important for India to have the Maldives on board to maintain its leadership in the region.
India's Assistance to the Maldives
- Operation Cactus: In 1988, when armed mercenaries attempted a coup against President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, India sent paratroopers and Navy vessels and restored the legitimate leadership under Operation Cactus.
- The 2004 tsunami was another occasion where India sent its assistance in terms of food and supplies to rebuild the region
- The 2014 Drinking Water Scarcity in Male was prevented from becoming a humanitarian disaster when attended by India sent packaged drinking water to the Maldives through five C17 and IL17 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force
- COVID-19 Assistance: At the peak of the continuing COVID-19 disruption, India rushed $250 million aid in a quick time. New Delhi also rushed medical supplies to the Maldives, started a new cargo ferry, and also opened an air travel bubble
Political Challenges in Bilateral Relationship
- Abdulla Yameen (presently leader of the opposition Party and jailed for corruption) was in power when the water crisis occurred. Despite early strains in relations, India rushed help on a humanitarian basis.
- Anti-India Protests by Opposition camp: Now, the Yameen camp has launched an ‘India Out’ campaign against New Delhi’s massive developmental funding for creating physical, social, and community infrastructure
- Internal Rumblings in Ruling Party: India should be concerned about the protests as well as the occasional rumblings within the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of Mr. Solih. The political instability in the ruling party can impact the country’s ties with India.
- Despite challenges, India can take respite in the ‘strategic comfort’ of the ‘India First’ policy of the Solih government.
- Given India’s increasing geostrategic concerns in the shared seas, India should be proactive in taking forward the multifaceted cooperation with its maritime neighbor.
Current Affairs on International Relations -9th November 2020
Indian diplomat Vidisha Maitra elected to U.N. ACABQ.
- The Advisory Committee is an expert Committee of sixteen Members elected by the General Assembly
- This is elected for a period of three years, based on a broad geographical representation.
- Members elected in this service in a personal capacity and not as representatives of Member States.
- The Committee holds three sessions a year with a total meeting time between nine and ten months per year.
- The Members of the Advisory Committee elect The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee are elected by
- To examine and report on the budget submitted by the Secretary-General to the UNGA
- To advise the UNGA concerning any administrative and budgetary matters referred to it.
- Examines the administrative budgets of the specialized agencies and proposals for financial arrangements with such agencies, on behalf of the General Assembly,
- To consider and report to the UNGA on the auditors’ reports on the accounts of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies.
Current Affairs on International Relations -8th November 2020
India-OPEC Energy Dialogue held virtually
The 4th high-level meeting of the India-OPEC Energy Dialogue was held virtually on the 5th of November 2020.
India was represented by:
The Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
The dialogue is being held since 2015.
- India COVID-19 induced disruptions of oil supply.
- India suggested the OPEC address the anomalies prevalent in differential crude oil prices fixed by the OPEC members for different regions.
- In 2019-20, India imported 92.8 billion USD worth of Hydrocarbons from OPEC countries.
- Between the period between 2000 and 2015, overall imports of oil from OPEC Countries in India grew from 2 billion USD to 140 billion USD.
- India is the 3rd-largest consumer of oil in the world.
- The World Oil Outlook, 2020 which is released by OPEC has projected that India will account for 16% of the global economy by 2045.
- Per day oil demand in India is to increase from 4.7 million barrels per day to 10.7 million barrels per day by 2045.
- The OPEC was conceived at Baghdad Conference in 1960.
- The headquarters of OPEC is located in Vienna, Austria.
- There are 14 member countries in OPEC.
- They are
- Saudi Arabia,
The- Republic of Congo,
- Equatorial Guinea,
- Angola, and
- Ecuador suspended its membership in 1992, re-joined in 2007, and again withdrew its membership in 2020.
- In 2018, Qatar left OPEC.
OPEC+ was formed in 2017.
- Sudan and
- South Sudan.
Recently, The First India-Nordic-Baltic Conclave was held virtually.
- Ministry of External Affairs
- Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The Indian side was represented by Union Minister of External Affairs, Dr S Jai Shankar.
The theme for the conclave was:
‘An Innovation-Driven Partnership for Growth in New World’.
- Adoption of clean technologies and renewable energies was discussed.
- Artificial Intelligence, supply chain logistics, and blockchain led transformation were discussed.
- Iceland, and
- - Latvia,
- - Estonia, and
- - Lithuania
India-Bangladesh sign MoU on COVID-19 Vaccine
On November 5, 2020, the Government of Bangladesh signed an6u7 MoU with the Serum Institute of India for priority delivery of 3 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses.
This COVISHIELD vaccine was developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
Initially 1.5 crore people will be vaccinated as each person requires two vaccine doses.
COVID-19 Vaccine in India
As of now, there are three COVID-19 vaccines under trial in India.
- Russian Vaccine called Sputnik V,
- Oxford University Vaccine called COVISHIED, and
- the COVAXIN jointly developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech.
- India is a part of the COVAX Facility of the Global Alliance for Vaccines or the GAVI Alliance.
- This facility aims to avail COVID-19 vaccines to all countries.
- The main objective of the facility is to prevent vaccine nationalism.
Issues related to COVID-19 Vaccines Distribution:
- The COVID-19 vaccine distribution is to be influenced by three factors namely convenience, confidence, and complacency.
- Convenience will be the physical availability or proximity of the vaccine.
- Lancet’s study revealed wealthy nations have secured more than 2 billion doses using advance purchase agreements.
- This might create scarcity in developing countries like India.
- The COVAX aims to prevent this.
- Several people are of the opinion that their personal risk is low as They feel that vaccination is unnecessary to them.
- The COVID-19 vaccine using the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network.
- The GoI is to use real-time tracking through EVIN.
- EVIN was an indigenously developed system.
- The system digitizes vaccine stocks.
- It also monitors the temperature of the cold chain and strengthens the immunization supply chain system.
India-Philippines Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation
Recently, the 4th Meeting of the India-Philippines Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation was held virtually.
- Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India, and
- Mr. Teodoro Locsin Jr., Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs Philippines
- The two countries held comprehensive discussions on a wide range of matters of mutual importance.
- India and the Philippines reviewed the recent developments in bilateral relations and discussed the possible future trajectory of their wide-ranging engagement.
- Their commitment to strengthening cooperation against shared challenges, particularly in the health sector to address the COVID-19 pandemic was reaffirmed
- The two nations talked about strengthening their defense engagement and maritime cooperation, especially in military training and education, capacity building, regular good-will visits, and procurement of defense equipment.
- They agreed to enhance cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism with information exchange between concerned agencies and support in terms of specialized training needs.
- The co-chairs agreed on expanding trade and investment links.
- Both sides agreed to work towards strengthening cooperation in agriculture, health and pharmaceuticals, tourism, energy, ICT, and science & technology.
- India appreciated the educational opportunities provided by the Philippines to Indian students.
- India’s development and capacity-building assistance to the Philippines were reaffirmed.
- Indian Minister invited Filipino students, scholars, and academicians to avail the ITEC and e-ITEC initiatives and make use of integrated Ph.D. Fellowships offered to ASEAN students at IITs.
- The leaders of both the countries for a more expansive and mutually beneficial relationship between India and the Philippines, the co-chairs agreed to explore closer cooperation in emerging areas such as renewable energy, space, cybersecurity, and traditional medicine.
- To expand trade, investment, tourism, and student exchange between the two countries, both sides agreed to work towards a simplified visa regime between India and the Philippines.
- On regional and international issues, both sides agreed to coordinate closely The External Affairs Minister and Secretary Locsin reaffirmed their commitment to a multifaceted partnership in line with India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and the ASEAN’s Outlook on Indo-Pacific to achieve shared security, prosperity, and grow1th for all in the region
Current Affairs on International Relations -7th November 2020
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
UNIDO Representative in New Delhi has given a statement that the Regional Cluster concept of economic development plays an important role in the Indian success story.
To promote and fast-track Inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in the Member States.
- UNIDO- United Nations Industrial Development Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1966
- 170 States are Members of this organization, as of 1 April 2019,
- Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.
Current Affairs on International Relations - 6th November 2020
Virtual Summit between India and Italy held
Recently, a Virtual Bilateral Summit between the Prime Minister of India and Italy
- The growing relationship between the India-Italy relationships in the recent past was appreciated.
- The two sides have agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral fora especially G-20 on regional and international issues,
- Italy will assume the Presidency of G-20 in December 2021 following which India will take up in 2022.
- India and Italy together will be part of the G20 Troika from December 2020.
- Italy’s decision to join ISA was applauded by India.
- About 15 MoUs/Agreements in various sectors such as energy, fisheries, shipbuilding, design, etc. were signed coinciding with the Summit.
- The countries are interested to firmly put behind the 2012 killing of two Indian crew members of a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala by Italian marines
- Currently, Italy is India’s fifth-largest trading partner in the EU.
- The bilateral trade is worth 9.52 billion Euros in 2019.
- India ranks 16th for Italian imports.
Current Affairs on International Relations - 4th November 2020
Shaktikanta Das Chaired the 40th SAARC Central Bank Governors Meeting
40th SAARC Central Bank Governors Meeting under the Chairmanship of Shaktikanta Das, Governor of Indian Central Bank Reserve Bank of India
- Recently, the 40th Meeting of the SAARCFINANCE Governors Group was held virtually
- . The SAARCFINANCE virtual meeting was attended by the Governors from SAARC central banks.
- Shaktikanta Das also inaugurated the SAARCFINANCE Sync, a closed user group secure communication network.
- Governor Shaktikanta Das highlighted the close partnership and co-operation among the SAARC countries in jointly fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
- SAARCFINANCE group took stock of the macroeconomic situation in the SAARC region; discussed the current SAARCFINANCE initiatives; and the way ahead.
- SAARC governors reaffirmed their commitment to continued co-operation and sharing of central bank experiences.
- The group is a network of central bank governors and finance secretaries of the SAARC region.
- RBI is the current chair of the SAARCFINANCE group.
SAARCFINANCE meeting was attended by:
- Fazle Kabir, 11th Governor of Bangladesh Bank
- Dasho Penjore, Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan
- Shaktikanta Das (Chairperson), 25th governor of the RBI
- Ali Hashim, Maldives Monetary Authority
- Reza Baqir, 20th Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan
- Prof. W. D. Lakshman, Central Bank of Sri Lanka
- Maha Prasad Adhikari, Nepal Rastra Bank
- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
- It is an intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in the South Asia region.
- The member countries of SAARC are
- the Maldives,
- Pakistan and
- Sri Lanka.
Current Affairs on International Relations - 3rd November 2020
Indian Naval Ship Airavat enters Port Sudan
Indian Naval Ship Airavat recently entered Port Sudan as part of ‘Mission Sagar-II’
- The Government of India is providing assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries to beat natural calamities and therefore the COVID-19 pandemic.
- INS Airavat is carrying a consignment of 100 Tonnes of food aid for the people of Sudan for an equivalent purpose.
- Mission Sagar-II follows the primary ‘Mission Sagar’ undertaken in May-June 2020, wherein India reached bent Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, and Comoros, and provided food aid and medicines.
- As a part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Eritrea.
Gulf Cooperation Council and India
Recently, India and theGulf Cooperation Council had a virtual meeting
- GCC members were asked by India to facilitate the return of Indians workers who want to resume work with the relaxing of Covid 19-related restrictions.
- This can be made possible through sustainable travel bubble arrangements.
- Both sides have confirmed their commitment to reform multilateral institutions to reflect the realities of the 21st century
- They agreed to work together to address contemporary challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, sustainable development, climate change, and terrorism.
- India has assured the GCC countries to continued the supply of food, medicines, and essential items to the Gulf region.
- The GCC displayed its pleasure about India's inclusion as a nonpermanent member of the UNSCfrom January 2021
- Was established in 1981 by an agreement between Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE
- This was for their special relations, similar political geographic proximity, systems based on Islamic beliefs, joint destiny, and common objectives.
- The GCC states are among India’s key suppliers of energy, and annual remittances from Indians in these countries are worth an estimated USD 4.8 billion.
Committee UNGA adopts India centric sponsor nuclear disarmament resolution
The First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 3rd November 2020, adopted two resolutions sponsored by India
The two resolutions under the ”Nuclear Weapons” cluster are:
- Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons- For the prohibition of nuclear weapons, and
- Reducing Nuclear Danger- to reduce the risks of accidental use of nuclear weapons in the world.
- These resolutions demonstrate India’s commitment to the goal of nuclear disarmament.
- The “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons” was tabled by India since 1982 in the UNGA which requested the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. This was to commence negotiations on an international convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
- The resolution reflects India’s conviction that such a multilateral, universal and legally binding agreement would generate necessary political will among States possessing nuclear weapons to engage in negotiations leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which is supported by a majority of UN members.
- Tabled since 1998, the resolution on “Reducing Nuclear Danger”, draws global attention to the risks of unintentional or accidental use of nuclear weapons and underscores the need for a review of nuclear doctrines.
- Concrete steps are required to reduce these risks, including through de-alerting and de-targeting of nuclear weapons.
India-UAE High-Level Joint Task Force on Investments
On: 03 NOV 2020 the eighth meeting of the 8th India-UAE High-Level Joint Task Force Meeting on Investments was hosted by India today, in a virtual format
Concerned Ministry: Ministry of Commerce & Industry
The meeting was co-chaired by:
- Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Government of India, Mr. Piyush Goyal, and
- Member of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and
- Senior officials from both countries participated in the meeting.
- The Joint Task Force was created in 2012
- It is an important forum for further deepening the economic ties between the UAE and India.
- This mechanism has gained greater importance as the two countries entrench the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in January 2017.
- The positive outcomes achieved by the Joint Task Force were discussed and applauded.
- In this meeting, a bilateral agreement was made to further explore ways to facilitate investments in key Indian and UAE sectors with potential for economic growth,
- Both the countries agreed to maintain their dialogue and further build on the considerable achievements of the Joint Task Force.
- The nations agreed that the recent challenging circumstances of COVID-19 made it even more important to encourage investment and cooperation in areas of mutual interest with the purpose to stimulate economic activity.
- Specific perceived barriers to trade between the two countries were discussed, these would include issues relating to anti-dumping duties and measures, as well as any tariff and regulatory restrictions.
- This platform is to promote mutual cooperation at the highest official levels in areas of anti-dumping
- The two nations reviewed the existing UAE special desk (‘UAE Plus’) and the Fast Track Mechanism that was created in 2018 to facilitate investments and to resolve any challenges experienced by UAE investors in India
- Investments in key sectors in India were discussed, including the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, mobility and logistics, food and agriculture, energy, and utilities
- Discussions on UAE-based funds to invest in India, including in the light of SEBI Foreign Portfolio Investor Regulations 2019 took place.
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