Bilateral Current Affairs
October 2nd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1)India sought info about mystery surrounding Netaji

India on 20th October asked Russia to share any information it has on the seven-decade-old mystery surrounding Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The development came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s announcement that India will declassify files on Bose beginning January 23 next year. 
  • The issue was raised by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Successive governments have refused to make public these documents, arguing that India`s relations with foreign countries would be jeopardized. 
  • The demands for declassification of secret files have been growing lately, especially after the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal last month declassified 64 files which were in its possession. 
2)Sushma to BRICS Nations: Make in India
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is on a three-day official visit to Russia, asked BRICS partners to invest in India`s flagship programmes including `Make in India` and `Skill India`. 
  • The External Affairs Minister, while speaking at a meeting of BRICS Ministers of Industries, also made a strong pitch for removal of structural impediments for increasing trade engagement amongst members of the group.
  • Sushma Swaraj said the government has laid down a clear roadmap for lowering corporate taxes and that there is huge opportunities in India for trade and investment. 
3)TG MoU with French city
Telangana Government Chief Secretary Dr. Rajiv Sharma on 20th October signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bordeaux Metropolis (France), represented by its Vice President Michel Vernejoul. The MoU aims at strengthening economic links between Telangana State and Bordeaux Metropolis in aeronautical engineering, biotechnology and information technology sectors and in areas of urban renewal. 
  • The Chief Secretary also met representatives of other institutions including, Aero Campus Quitaine and Sabena Techniques, in Bordeaux to explore possible areas of cooperation and investment.
  • The signing of MoU was followed by meeting with number of companies in Stockholm, including Electrolux and Ericsson, and a visit to Almhult, Ikea`s headquarters in Sweden.

4)India and Russia discuss ways to boost their economic ties

India and Russia have discussed ways to boost their economic ties to achieve the target of 30 billion dollar in bilateral trade in the next 10 years. India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russia`s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin chaired the 21st India-Russia Inter-Governmental Consultations in Moscow on 21st October. 


  • They also looked at ways to enhance mutual direct investment to 15 billion dollar by 2025. Both the sides identified various sectors to achieve the commercial targets, agreed upon by Prime Minister Narendra. 
5)Japan offers India $15-bn for bullet train project
Japan has offered to finance India’s first bullet train, estimated to cost $15 billion, at an interest rate of less than a per cent, stealing a march on China, bidding for other projects on the world’s fourth-largest network. Tokyo was picked to assess the feasibility of building the 505-kilometre corridor linking Mumbai with Ahmedabad and concluded it would be technically and financially viable. 
The project to build and supply the route will be put out to tender, but offering finance makes Japan the clear frontrunner. 
Last month, China won the contract to assess the feasibility of a high-speed train between Delhi and Mumbai, a 1,200-km route estimated to cost twice as much. No loan has yet been offered. 
  • Japan’s decision to give virtually free finance for Modi’s pet programme is part of its broader push back against China’s involvement in infrastructure development in South Asia over the past several years. 
  • The two projects are part of a ‘Diamond Qaudrilateral’ of high-speed trains over 10,000 km of track that India wants to set up connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Japan has offered to meet 80 per cent of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project cost, on condition that India buys 30 per cent of equipment, including the coaches and locomotives from Japanese firms.  
  • Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which led the feasibility survey, said the journey time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad would be cut to two hours from seven. The route will require 11 new tunnels, including one undersea near Mumbai. 
  • Beijing offered $5 billion in loans without asking for guarantees, an Indonesian official said, ending a months-long battle to build the line linking Jakarta with the textile hub of Bandung. 
  • The average speed of trains is 54km/hour, and rail experts have argued that the priority ought to be to improve the speed and safety on existing trains and routes. 
6)India, Africa align on WTO issues
Ahead of the World Trade Organization (WTO)`s ministerial conference, India and Africa on 23rd October discussed their respective positions, especially those pertaining to a permanent solution for food stockholding programme. The WTO ministerial conference will take place in Nairobi, Kenya during December 15-18. 
7)AP, Japan sign MoC to develop industries, new capital
Andhra Pradesh and Japan have entered into a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) for industrial development and construction of the new capital Amaravati. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Japanese State Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Yosuke Takagi, signed the MoC on 22nd October
  • A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the AP Finance department and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to invite foreign investments and to develop proposed capital city and region.
  • JBIC intends to promote investments and exports to the State by Japanese companies. 

8)India and Jordan sign Six MoUs in Amman

India and Jordan have signed six memoranda of understanding (MoU) in Amman today. The MoUs were signed as part of the President Pranab Mukherjee`s state visit to Jordan. 
Agreements on Maritime Transport, Communication and Information Technology and Cultural exchange featured in the MoUs which were signed. Indian President Mukherjee inaugurated a street named after Mahatma Gandhi and planted an Olive tree in peace park. 
  • The Indian President held a meeting with the Jordan Prime Minister Dr Abdulla Ensour. Both leaders agreed that terrorism must be fought on multiple fronts and it is not enough to talk only in terms of some actors.
  • Speaking to media, Secretary East, MEA, said that both countries realised the need for long term solutions and a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is to be finalised. The President also met the Speaker and Members of the Senate. 
  • On the second day of his visit President Pranab Mukherjee held a meeting with Prime Minister of Jordan Dr Abdullah Ensour. Both leaders agreed that Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is necessary for peace and tranquillity across the globe. The two leaders discussed various regional and international issues including Syria and Palestine. Earlier in the day President visited Jordaian Senate and met the speaker. 
9)Mahatma Gandhi statue unveiled: On the second day of his West Asia visit, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated Mahatma Gandhi Street in Jordanian capital Amman on 11th October. The Mayor of Amman presented the President with the golden key of Amman commemorating his historic visit. 
10)India, Maldives ink two MoUs
The 5th India-Maldives Joint Commission meet led by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon began in Maldives on 11th October. 
  • The two countries discussed cooperation in defence and security, trade and development partnership, connectivity, health, energy, HRD, culture and tourism. Maldives also extended support for India`s bid for permanent membership in a reformed & expanded UN Security Council. 
  • The Joint Commission has proposed establishment of a Joint Business Forum and that an investment oriented forum be part of agenda for 2016. India and Maldives also signed two MoUs on cooperation between Foreign Service Institutes and on Cooperation in Sports & Youth Affairs. 
11) Australian art gallery to return 2000 year old Buddha idol to India
 Current Affirs An Australian art gallery has agreed to give a 2,000-year-old Buddha sculpture back to India. According to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials, the Sitting Buddha sculpture, whose roots could be traced to Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, is currently with a national art gallery in Canberra, Australia. 
  • ASI sources said, the Australian art gallery intimated the Union Culture Ministry that they intend to return it. The sculpture made of sandstone is an image, which is very unique to the Mathura region. 
  • With the art gallery giving its consent, the ASI has requested the Ministry of Culture to send an official team to examine the antique idol dating to the first century. Earlier, Germany has returned an ancient Durga idol during the visit of Chancellor Angela Merkel to India.