India's International Relations in October 2020, Current Affairs

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International Relations on 29th October 2020

8th India-Mexico Joint Meeting held virtually

8th Joint meeting between India and Mexico took place virtually on bilateral trade and commercial relations and its future prospects between India and Mexico.

Date 29th October 2020

Chaired by- S. Jaishankar (Union Minister of External Affairs, India) and Marcel Ebrard (Minister of Foreign Affairs, United Mexican State)

Key Highlights-

  • The ‘Privileged Partnership’ between both the countries will be strengthened in the upcoming years.
  • Mutual Agreement on cooperation in the field of Trade and Commerce, Agriculture, Health, Space, Science & Technology, Energy, Culture and Education was discussed in the meeting.
  • Views on regional and international issues of mutual interest were discussed along with post-pandemic recovery.
  • Progress in bilateral trade between both the countries was appreciated from both the sides.

International Relations on 27th October 2020

Feni Bridge to be completed by December 2020

Feni Bridge over the River Feni connecting India and Bangladesh will be completed by the end of December 2020. The bridge will connect Tripura (India) and Chittagong (Bangladesh).

Date of Announcement- 27th October

Announced by- Nitin Gadkari (Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways)

Constructed By- National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.

Looked over by- Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

Advantages-

  • It will provide a convenient route for the movement of goods from Kolkata port.
  • It will reduce the time taken to travel from Haldia to Chittagong significantly.

Key Points-

  • The foundation stone of the bridge was jointly laid by PM Narendra Modi and his counterpart Sheikh Hasina in 2015.
  • The construction began in 2017.
  • The bridge is a Reinforced Cement Concrete Bridge (RCC)

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 20th October 2020

  • India and UAE to strengthen ties in medical sector

India and UAE governments seek to strengthen their already rock-solid diplomatic ties through the medical sector, especially in the light of the pandemic that is wreaking havoc throughout both the countries. The conference held recently between the medical envoys from the 2 countries has stated the importance of the Indian made vaccine in the Arab nation, saying that it would be significant in the fight against COVID-19 in the UAE.  With contributions from policymakers and leaders in the healthcare sector, the conference was a platform for deliberations on collaboration and exploring ways and means for the two health systems to engage more deeply. Speakers discussed ways in which the two nations will exchange ideas on exploring new avenues for partnership as India and UAE work towards delivering accessible, affordable and world-class healthcare to people.

History:- India and UAE hold a very good relationship with each other. UAE is home to one of the biggest Indian expatriate community in the world and thus have links in the countries trade and culture. Arabs from the UAE have also been visiting India for centuries to trade spices and other goods between the countries.

  • India extends helping hand to Taiwan, to eradicate Chinese threat

Support is growing within India’s government to formally start talks on a trade deal with Taiwan as both democracies see relations with China deteriorate. Taiwan has sought trade talks with India for several years, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been reluctant to move ahead because it would involve a messy fight with China once any pact is registered at the World Trade Organization. But the current scenario calls for an aggressive diplomatic mission, amidst Chinese invasion policies being spread out to different countries.

History:- The bilateral relations between India and Taiwan have improved since the 1990s despite both nations not maintaining official diplomatic relations. India recognises only the People's Republic of China (in mainland China). However, India's economic and commercial links, as well as people-to-people contacts with Taiwan, have expanded in recent years.

Significance:- Any formal talks with India would amount to a big win for Taiwan, which has struggled to begin trade negotiations with most major economies due to pressure from China. Like most countries, India doesn’t formally recognize Taiwan, with the two governments maintaining unofficial diplomatic missions in the form of representative offices. Such a movement will be a major blow towards the Chinese aggression tactics that is being unfolded in the region

 

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 19th October 2020

  • India and Argentina to cooperate in Space technology

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has invited Argentina´s National Commission for Space Activities (CONAE) to consider India for future launches of their satellites. During the fifth round of Foreign Office Consultations that took place last month, ISRO expressed its interest in receiving cooperation related to the Argentine satellites SAOCOM, particularly in accessing data produced by the SAOCOM. There is a bilateral Framework Agreement on Cooperation in the Pacific Use of Outer Space entered into force in September 2018, and the space agencies of both countries have made positive progress in the dialogue. The cooperation will help to boost the space ventures of the Latin American country and will also help in deepening the diplomatic ties between the 2 countries.

History:- India opened a Trade Commission in Buenos Aires in 1943. This was converted into an embassy on 3 February 1949. Argentina had established a consulate in Calcutta in the 1920s. In 1950, it was transferred to Delhi as an embassy. Argentina opened a Consulate General in Mumbai in April 2009. In 1968, Indira Gandhi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Argentina. President Zail Singh visited the country in April 1984. P. V. Narasimha Rao visited Argentina in 1995 to attend the G-15 Summit.

  • India and Chile to start bilateral ties

India and Chile have agreed to ink a Bilateral Investment Protection Treaty between themselves. India and the South American nation of Chile already has a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement which was signed earlier this year in March and the two sides are already in the process of finalizing a date for the next round of talks for the expansion of the Preferential Trade Agreement, which was delayed due to global pandemic. India has welcomed Chile’s decision to designate India as a priority country in its foreign policy, and its decision to opening Consulate General in Mumbai. The two countries are also setting up an India-Chile Joint Business Council. Another big step the two sides are working on an MoU for cooperation in the health sector and export of generic medicines from India.

Significance:- The two countries have recently completed 70 years of diplomatic relations. In April 2019, during the visit of President Kovind, to Santiago, MoUs for cooperation in the field of Mining and Culture and a Letter of Intent for cooperation in the disability sector were signed. The South American has the distinction of being the longest country in the world, has a very large maritime boundary and control a large part of Antarctica. It also has a huge base of natural resources which includes copper, tin, forest resources.

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 17th October 2020

  • India approve trade of 5-Bhutanese Agri products

In a move that is bound to increase trade between the two countries, India has allowed market access for 5 Bhutanese agricultural products. This will also allow Bhutan to gain access to the large Indian market. Now, Bhutan can market its Areca nuts, Mandarin Oranges, Apples, Potatoes and Ginger in India. Bhutan can access the Indian market with immediate effect. The decision in this regard got impetus during the visit of Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal to Bhutan in February this year.

History:- The bilateral relations between the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and the Republic of India have been traditionally close and both countries share a 'special relationship', making Bhutan a protected state, but not a protectorate, of India. India remains influential over Bhutan's foreign policy, defence and commerce. In 2012–13 fiscal, India's budgetary support to the Kingdom country stood at US$600 million (around INR 30 billion).

Significance:- India is Bhutan's largest trading partner. In 2018, the total bilateral trade between the two countries stood at Rs. 9227.7 crores. Major exports from India to Bhutan are mineral products, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, plastics and articles. The major items of export from Bhutan to India are electricity, ferrosilicon, portland cement, dolomite etc.

  • India, Sri Lanka look to strengthen Budhisst ties

India and Sri Lanka held talks on the implementation of a USD 15 million grant for the promotion of Buddhist ties between the two countries, the Indian High Commission here said on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 26 announced the grant assistance of USD 15 million for the promotion of Buddhist ties between India and Sri Lanka to further enhance bilateral cultural links. The prime minister announced a virtual summit with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa. The two sides also discussed other Indian grant projects currently under implementation such as the Kandyan Dancing School being constructed at the Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy (SIBA) campus in Pallekele, Kandy, and the Jaffna Cultural Centre.

History:- India and Sri-Lanka are two closely-knit countries in terms of cooperation, history and trade since prehistoric times. Sri-Lanka is a major component of both Hindu and Buddhist mythology and thus have a very deep cultural root in India.

Significance:- The two countries are also close on economic terms with India being the island's largest trading partner and an agreement to establish a proto single market also under discussion at an advanced stage. India and Sri Lanka share a maritime border. India is the only neighbour of Sri Lanka, separated by the Palk Strait; both nations occupy a strategic position in South Asia and have sought to build a common security umbrella in the Indian Ocean.

 

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 16th October 2020

  • Bangladesh seeks to resolve problems with India amidst strong cooperation

India and Bangladesh have been very strong allies since the inception of the country. The freedom of Bangladesh from Pakistan was majorly through the hands of India and this made Bangladesh a main ally of India in the region. But there have been several problems that persist between the 2 countries when it comes to matters like that of the River Ganga, which also flows through Bangladesh (known as River Padma there). The Farakk barrages build across the river by India has caused severe problems to the environment in Bangladesh and has triggered several historic mass protests in the country. Another major problem is the growing closeness of Dhaka towards Beijing. The Chinese have been offering help to Bangladesh to put up strong diplomatic ties with the main ally of India in the region. This has worried India and the country has taken steps to ensure that this move will be blocked.

Significance:- India needs to keep Bangladesh on their side as the main regional ally against an aggressive China and Pakistan, who are now reduced to a mere puppet in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. The efforts to resolve the problems between the countries will also keep China away from Bangladesh.

  • France appoints new envoy for cooperation with India

In a sign of France’s greater focus on the Indian Ocean and the increasingly assertive behaviour of China across the region, President Emmanuel Macron has appointed the country’s first ambassador for the Indo-Pacific. Christophe Penot, one of France’s most senior diplomats who till recently was the envoy to Australia, will take over the new position from October 15.

Penot will be made to pay special attention to cooperation with India as a foremost strategic partner in the region and to implement the 2018 joint vision on the Indo-Pacific adopted by President Macron and Prime Minister Modi

History:- The relations between the countries have traditionally been close and friendly and both countries have a strong relationship with each other. Both nations have a centuries-old history of trade relations. From the 17th century until 1954, France maintained a colonial presence in the subcontinent; Puducherry, one of its former Indian territories, is a popular tourism destination for French travellers to India.

Significance:- France, which signed a defence logistics support agreement with India in 2018, also has plans for more joint patrols and operations with India’s military in the Indian Ocean to protect the interests of both countries and ensure a rules-based order.

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 15th October 2020

  • Portugal seeks to strengthen bilateral ties with India

India and Portugal on Wednesday agreed to further boost cooperation in areas of defence and security, trade, and migration and mobility partnership. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Portuguese counterpart Augusto Santos Silva held a virtual meeting during which they deliberated ways to further expand the bilateral cooperation in a range of areas. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the Portuguese have agreed that the momentum in the ties will be maintained particularly in new areas of cooperation such as migration and mobility partnership, defence cooperation, and deepening of economic ties. The country also assured its support in the cause of India getting into the UN Security council in 2021.

History:- The relations between the 2 countries had started from a setback after 1950 over Portugal's refusal to surrender its exclaves of Goa, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli on India's west coast. By 1955, the two nations had cut off diplomatic relations, triggering a crisis which precipitated in the Indian annexation of Portuguese India in 1961. Portugal refused to recognise Indian sovereignty over the annexed territories until 1974 when the newly elected democratic government in Lisbon recognised Indian sovereignty and restored diplomatic relations.

Significance:- This move between the 2 countries will help the Indian government to seek out for more ties between other European st4rongholds. This will help in the expansion and strengthening of the diplomatic missions conducted by the country and will help in submersing the enemies of the state.

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 14th October 2020

  • India and New Zealand hold conclave for cooperation in Education sector

India and New Zealand have always been good partners in almost all sectors of trade. The diplomatic ties between the 2 nations are also pretty strong. But the most important connection between the 2 countries is the flow of students between New Zealand and India. This flow of students has resulted in a significant number of skilled workers in NZ being Indians. The quality of education in NZ is also very superior and this encourages the students from India, who are very skilled and talented, to go to NZ to pursue their dreams. This is the main objective of the conclave that was held virtually with representatives from both countries. Researchers and professors from leading New Zealand and Indian universities met in Mumbai to reinforce the destination of education for Indians students in New Zealand through the academic conclave.

History:- India and New Zealand had a long-term growing relationship since1800, and it is so because of India’s strong economy and a large population. The relationship has been a key in Indians immigrating to the NZ and providing essential skilled work services in the country.

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 11th October 2020

  • India and Vietnam increase their partnership over the Chinese threat

India and Vietnam have now taken steps in the direction of strengthening their ties in diplomatic, trade and strategic areas as they are both facing the consequences of the Chinese aggression that has been taking place in the region in the recent past. China has caused several key problems in the borders of India, including a standoff with the Indian Army in Ladakh which resulted in heavy casualities on both sides, and also on their attempts to define the Line of Actual Control in their terms. The Chinese have also brought up the problem of Arunachal Pradesh to further escalate the problem. The Vietnamese are facing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea region, and they are being constantly pestered by the Chinese forces that attempt to take illegal control over the region. These problems have brought closer India and Vietnam, to fight off the common enemy

History:- India has always taken a supportive stand for the Vietnamese government. India supported Vietnam's independence from France, opposed American involvement in the Vietnam War, and supported the unification of Vietnam. During the infamous Vietnam War, India supported the North, by not conducting military hostilities against the South.

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 9th October 2020

  • India and UK to sign MoU on Defence logistics

India and the UK are in the final stages of agreeing on a key defence logistics pact, reflecting a policy shift in London as the Boris Johnson government finalises its once-in-a-generation Integrated Review of Britain’s foreign policy, defence and international development in the post-Brexit world. Experts say the MoU is part of a new approach to India and Asia that will be outlined in the high-level review to be released in November, as the UK prepares for a future outside the European Union from January 1. The announcement that the ‘Defence Logistics MoU’ is in the final stages of agreement between New Delhi and London is part of several defence-related deliverables in the pipeline. It is seen as a new beginning in the ties between the 2 World powers

History:- India was a part of the British Empire until 1945 and thus have a very important part of play in Indian history. But ever since, both the countries have been in very good diplomatic and trade relations. The amount of Indians living in the UK is also a significant factor in the exchange of culture and strong ties.

Significance:- As the UK is eyeing an exit from the European Union by this year, the trade ties with other countries has to be strengthened to facilitate the economy. India will also benefit from such a move because of the growing threat posed by China in the region

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 8th October 2020

  • India plans to expand relations with Israel

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and reviewed initiatives by the two countries in a host of sectors, including agriculture, water and innovation. Prime Minister Modi also said that they also discussed expanding cooperation to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2 leaders have reportedly agreed on the importance of close cooperation in these important areas not only for the benefit of the people of the two countries but also for the greater good of humanity. The leaders also agreed to continue holding regular consultations to share assessments on emerging regional and global challenges to strengthen their ties.

History:- India and Israel have had a very strong relation, even during pre-historic times. The two countries have an extensive economic, military, and strategic relationship. India is the largest exporter of Israeli military equipment and also exports the Israeli equipment most after those of Russia. The two countries also have a very strong trade relation.

Significance:- India and Israel face common enemies on different fronts and the close cooperation between the 2 countries can be very beneficial for both of them. The use of technology provided by Israel can power the homogenous defence equipment of India.

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 7th October 2020

  • India assures Afganisthan full support in peace negotiations

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the full backing of the country to the Afganisthan for the peace negotiations that are happening between the country and the Taliban forces. Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Afghan peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah the full support for the cause. Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation in Afghanistan, met Modi at his official residence to brief him on the peace process and the talks currently being held by the Afghan government and the Taliban at Doha in Qatar.

History:- Bilateral relations between Afghanistan and India have remained strong and friendly over the decades. India and Afghanistan had been historical neighbours, and share cultural ties through Bollywood and cricket. The Republic of India was the only South Asian country to recognize the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s. India aided the overthrow of the Taliban government and became the largest regional provider of humanitarian and reconstruction aid to the present-day Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Significance:- India views the strong ties with Afghanistan as a trump card in its stand against Pakistan. Afghanistan can be viewed as Indias most important strategic regional partner, as Pakistan is becoming a puppet to the Chinese Communist government.

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 6th October 2020

  • India and Japan finalise 5G, AI cooperation

India and Japan have finalised text of the cybersecurity agreement that promotes cooperation in security and resilience in the areas of Critical Information Infrastructure, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar met Japanese FM Motegi Toshimitsu for the 13th India-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue in Tokyo. Jaishankar also participated in the Quad--India, Japan, US, Australia FMs meet.

History:- The diplomatic ties between the 2 countries has always been on really good terms, along with the trade connections that existed between the countries, even during medieval times. Many Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota, Yamaha and others have their units in India and have exported their tech to the country.

Significance:- Most of the countries in the region are in a tense standoff with China on different levels. As the other 2 main players in the region, the growing ties between the 2 nations will help in overcoming the threat the Chinese poses towards the peace of the region and to the world.

 

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations - 3rd October 2020

  • India-Russia Webinar on Natural Gas as Motor Fuel conducted

The first-ever India-Russia webinar on the use of natural gas as a motor fuel was organized under the joint hosting of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India and the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation. The MoU between the two energy ministries of the countries concerning the topic was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Modi and President Putin the last time they visited. The webinar included two Technical sessions on LNG as Transport Fuel and CNG as Transport Fuel, wherein perspectives from Indian and Russian sides were presented and saw the attendance of dignitaries, speakers and participants from both India & Russia.

History:- Russia is the oldest and the most trustworthy ally of India and the 2 nations have been closely working in different sectors for a long time. The Russian government has been supplying most weapons, artillery, ships and fighter jets to the country and have developed many techs jointly with the Indian scientists and defence experts.

Significance:- The natural gas, even though is a fossil fuel, is much more available and emission-free than conventional fossil fuels which are being used now, such as petrol and diesel. The introduction of technology involving the use of Natural gas, promoted by technologically advanced countries like India and Russia, will be very welcoming.

 

#CurrentAffairs  - International Relations -1st October 2020

  • India and Myanmar strengthen relations

India and Myanmar reviewed their strong and historical relationship that is underpinned by deepening cooperation in areas of trade and investment, power, energy and healthcare. The upcoming elections in Myanmar, which is scheduled for November 8, is another reason why the Myanmar government seek to keep close one of its main allies in the region. India has been helping out Myanmar in different sectors of trade, defence and in infrastructure development of the country. India views Myanmar as a very important ally in the region.

History:- The relations between the 2 neighbours were present even from the pre-historical times as there was an active exchange of goods and culture between the 2 nations. Even though it had become tense in the recent past due to Drug trafficking from Myanmar and also due to the military rule that was imposed on the nation before, Myanmar now is a very strong and close ally of India.

Significance:- Myanmar is one of India’s strategic neighbours and shares a 1,640-km-long border with several northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur. A good relation with Myanmar can help the country both diplomatically and strategically.