Bilateral Current Affairs
October 4th Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) BRICS issues `joint declaration` to ensure orderly & legal migration
After the first ministerial discussion on migration in Sochi, Russia, BRICS countries, that is, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, issued a `joint declaration` expressing commitment to ensure orderly and legal migration amongst member nations and respect human rights. 
  • The declaration says that it welcomed strengthening of the dialogue and cooperation in the context of migration, including migration policies, procedures and strategies as well as discussions of representatives of the migration authorities of the BRICS countries. 
  • The BRICS nations affirmed their interest in exchanging views and sharing experience on migration issues; accepted the inter-relationship between transnational migration and development and the need to address the opportunities and issues that migration presents. 
  • It says that it reaffirms the openness of the BRICS to strengthen collaboration with other countries, international and regional organisations, based on principle of equality and mutual respect for discussing and addressing the issue of international migration.  
  • BRICS nations acknowledged the effect of migration to the social and economic development in the member countries, expressed the interest of BRICS countries in sharing best practices in the development and implementation of national migration policies or procedures. 
Other important points:
  1. The BRICS nation will soon allow free movement of “skilled professionals” among member countries by setting up a liberalised visa regime
  2. The liberalised visa regime would further improve ties with China. It was in May this year, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, that Chinese tourists were extended the facility of electronic visa on arrival, against the concerns of intelligence agencies. 
2) Nepal forms team to ease diplomatic standoff with India
Nepal on 9th October formed a three-member team including the Foreign Minister to ease a diplomatic standoff with India over the supply of essential goods, including petroleum products, affected because of the blockade of trade points with India by people protesting the new Constitution. 
  • The committee was constituted comprising of the Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Minister for Commerce and Supplies Sunil Bahadur Thapa and the secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies.
  • The team will have talks with Indian officials to address the ongoing issue so as to ensure smooth supply of petroleum products and other essential goods to landlocked Nepal. 
3) President begins 6-day visit to West Asia
In the first leg of his six day tour of Jordan, Israel and Palestine President Pranab Mukherjee reached Jordan on 10th October. President met King Abdullah and held one to one talks with him on bilateral relations, as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern. ater both the countries also held delegation level talks. 
  • India and Jordan have agreed for greater co-operation in the field of Counter terrorism and defence sector.
  • There were many agreements in the field of trade and investment. India opened a plant of IFFCO in Jordan and agreed for increased import of phosphate from Jordan in future
  • From India`s side, it has been decided to open a $100 million line of credit to promote bilateral trade between the two countries, besides doubling to 50 the number of scholarships for Jordanian students to pursue higher education in India.
  • The visit is the first ever by an Indian President to Jordan.


4) Modi woos Silicon Valley giants

Wooing Silicon Valley majors such as Google, Facebook and Tesla to invest in India’s digital infrastructure and tap into the vast market, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this digital age offered an opportunity to transform the lives of India’s poor in a way hard to imagine a couple of decades earlier. 
Modi met the India-born chief executives of Google, Microsoft and Adobe Systems — Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella and Shantanu Narayen besides visiting Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple. The key visit by Modi was to Tesla, the electric car maker that is building the world’s largest factory for batteries to store power — he discussed bringing Tesla’s technology to help build India’s renewable energy sector. 
The PM talked of India’s plan to provide broadband services to all villages and mentioned that Google was helping to set up Wi-Fi internet access shortly in 500 railway stations in India.
Microsoft said it planned to replicate a technology it was piloting in Varanasi to offer broadband using the white space in television spectrum to Indian villages.
Qualcomm, which builds chipsets to power mobile phones, will create a $150 million fund for Indian start-ups.
John Chambers, chairman of Cisco Systems and chairman of the US India Business council, said digital manufacturing was set to create millions of jobs every month in India.
Google’s Pichai announced the search giant would allow users from next month to type in 10 Indian languages on its Android platform.
5) India will be $20-trillion economy: PM at Facebook event
 Current Affirs Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set an ambitious target for India to become a $20-trillion economy with increased focus on agriculture, manufacturing and services. He said the government was focusing on deregulation, adding "the government has no business to run business".
Modi reiterated the ambitious plan of providing optic-fibre connectivity to 600,000 villages in five years that could help the country witness growth. "Future cities will be built along network of optical fibre, similar to how civilisation was built around rivers and highways." 
He added that India is investing in physical and digital infrastructure with emphasis on technology to improve governance for the people. 
Modi said the government could not achieve its economic goal. He said the government wants more women to join the workforce."In education and health, you actually need to make reservation for men. There are more women in health and education; we need more participation of women in other sectors." 
6) Modi invites Apple CEO to set up manufacturing base in India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Apple to set up a manufacturing base in India and its CEO Tim Cook responded positively. Foxconn, which is Apple`s largest manufactures, has decided to set up a manufacturing base in India, he noted. 
During the meeting, Cook said India has a very special place in the heart of every Apple employee for the simple reason that its co-founder Steve Jobs went to India when he was a young man for inspiration. It was what he saw in India that inspired him to launch Apple. 
Clash of the Titans
Around 350 programmers worked through the day trying to come out with the next big app for the `Digital India` initiative
The app competition was being linked through a web link to an all-night `Hackathon` at the Google Inc global headquarters at Santa Clara county, California
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai were going to join through an interactive session with the Hackathon participants in India and the US later at night, via live simulcast
75 teams were at it, hoping the app they developed would become part of the PM`s `Digital and Skill India` initiative
A little over 30 companies took part including Amazon, Adobe, Cisco, Edcast, GE, Google, Oracle and PayPal

7) Google to give Wi-Fi access in 500 railway stations

  • Global search giant Google will enable a little over 500 railway stations in India with Wi-Fi access, even as the country’s national open fibre network aims to provide broadband access to the 600,000 villages in the country. 
  • Modi explained the aim was to turn India’s villages into smart economic hubs and connect our farmers better to markets, making them less vulnerable to the whims of weather. 
8) PM Modi launches BHARAT Fund at `India-US Startup Konnect
PM Modi visited `India-U.S. Startup Konnect` exhibition which showcased success stories of Indian entrepreneurs to highlight the rapidly rising global impact of technology innovation from India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his vision on `Start-up India, Stand-up India` at the Start Up Seminar at Regency Hall at Hotel Fairmont. 
  • An idea can become a global product within a year, multiplying customers & employees. He also said that India & US have a natural partnership of innovation and technology that has shaped the knowledge economy. Explaining various policies to create an enabling environment for Startup India, the PM spoke about India`s own startup revolution, an ecosystem that is growing rapidly. 
  • The PM added that he wants to see the idea and the spirit of Startups light up the economies and the fortunes of people in rural India. A catalyst for the future, the exhibition showcased products from 40 different companies. 
  • On the occasion, the Prime Minister released logo of Bharat Fund, which will provide seed funding to Indian entrepreneurs. 
  • On the occasion PM Modi said that he was honoured to launch the BHARAT Fund- which stands not just for India, but also for Better Health, Agri, Renewables & Tech. Besides, seven MoUs were also signed between Indian and US entities in the presence of PM at the function. 
  • The exhibition is being organized by innovative Indian startups - often working under the radar across areas as diverse as healthcare, agriculture, energy, technology and aerospace. 
  • These startups are representative of the changing India where apart from just creating solutions for the upper middle-class urban consumer of India, the innovators are leveraging technology and their experiences to create massive impact by solving some tougher problems. 
9) Seven MoUs signed at India-US startup me
Aimed at giving a big boost to startups in India, as many as seven MoUs have been signed between various organisations of India and the US. The MoUs were signed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the India-US Start-up Konnect 2015. 


  • The first MoU between Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences is to develop Indo-US Life Science Sister Innovation Hub so as to enhance science-based entrepreneurship, research, academia and businesses by leveraging each other`s ecosystems. 
  • Department of Biotechnology and Prakash Lab, Stanford University signed another MoU on Foldscope -- a frugal science innovation that has emerged from a lab of an Indian with majority of Indians working in this laboratory. This lab will work with DBT to further develop and deploy the products from this lab. 
  • National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) and the Indus Entrepreneurs signed a MoU to collaborate in a mutually satisfactory form and manner in order to support the creation of a vibrant ecosystem to foster technology entrepreneurship in India and Silicon Valley. 
  • IIM Ahmedabad`s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) and Lester Centre for Entrepreneurship of the Haas Business School of the University of California, signed a MoU to collaborate on mutual incubation, and support each other’s activities of mutual interest. 
  • CIIE also signed a MoU with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator to extend NGIN Membership benefits to CIIE. The CIIE /LACI NGIN Landing Pad Programme is a reciprocal initiative that enables entrepreneurs and innovators in the cleantech space to gain access to the California and Indian markets. The programme will assist early and growth stage cleantech companies with market expansion through partnerships and funding opportunities in California and India. 
  • IIM Ahmedabad`s CIIE signed a MoU with Tata Trust for founding partner for the Bharat Fund, which will provide seed funding to Indian entrepreneurs. CIIE also signed a MoU with Google to support technology and impact entrepreneurs through strategic support. 
10) U.S., India sign $3-bn defence deal
On 28th September in New Delhi, US and Indian officials signed two contracts for the purchase by the Indian Air Force (IAF) of 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, and 15 CH-47F Chinook multi-mission heavy lift helicopters. 
  • Two of the contracts, which were signed between teams from Boeing headquarters in the US and Indian defence ministry officials, were for the direct commercial sale (DCS) part of the contracts. This includes the entire Chinook helicopter, and the flying portion of the Apache (less engines), as well as logistic support, spares and services. 
  • The purchase of the Apache weaponry and radar was signed separately as a foreign military sale (FMS) purchase by the Indian defence ministry, which signed a letter of agreement to this effect with the Pentagon. The FMS portion of the sale includes munitions, training, aircraft certification, and components like engines, electrooptical sensors and the radar. 
  • The value of the deal for both helicopters, including DCS and FMS portions of the sale, is approximately $3 billion.  
  • According to the contract signed, Boeing will start delivering the Chinook and Apache helicopters 36 months from 28th September. The entire delivery is to be completed in 48 months from the signing of the contract. 
  • Both helicopters will be delivered in fly-away condition, i.e., fully-built and ready for operations. Since Boeing is committed to a 30 per cent offset liability, there may be some portions that are built in India. Already, Indian companies are involved in the building of the Chinook. Bengaluru-based Dynamatics Technologies builds the aft pylon and cargo ramps for the Chinook’s global supply chain. 
  • Boeing sources say that additional Indian vendors are being scouted for building more components. This contract will further consolidate the US position as India’s second-biggest arms supplier, behind only Russia. 
  • The Apache AH-64E is the world’s most fearsome attack helicopters. It is armed with anti-tank missiles, rockets and a chain gun that fires 625 rounds per minute that can rip apart and armoured vehicles.
  • The Apache has flown close to a million mission hours in conflicts from the First Gulf War in 1991 to Afghanistan and Iraq. Similarly, the Chinook, which first flew in the Vietnam War, but has continuously evolved in design, is one of the world’s most well-reputed heavy lift helicopters. It is capable of underslinging and lifting a light 155 millimeter Howitzer to support troops in high altitudes of up to 15,000 feet. 
11) ADB to finance India-Bangladesh electricity link upgradation
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $120 million loan to upgrade the India-Bangladesh electricity network which will allow Bangladesh to meet its increasing power demand and support power exchanges across South Asia. 
  • The loan will be used to double the capacity of the existing inter-grid connectivity which links the power grid of western Bangladesh at Berhamara with the power grid of eastern India at Baharampur. The two electricity networks were first connected in December 2013 under a previous ADB project under which India exports 500 MW power to Bangladesh. 
  • In a statement the Manila-based lending agency`s Director of Energy Division of the South Asia Department, Anthony Jude said the interconnectivity project is a step in the direction of a South Asia Regional Electricity Grid which will facilitate power exchanges between countries of the region. 
  • The project which is expected to be completed by June is part of efforts under the South Asia Subregional Economic Co-operation (SASEC) Programme aimed at improving economic opportunities through cross-border links in trade, power, road and rail networks.
  • Published on 10/8/2015 5:08:00 PM