Bilateral Current Affairs
August 4th Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) India, Slovak ink MoU on technical cooperation in railway sector

India and Slovak have signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technical cooperation in railway sector. Railway Ministry said the MoU was signed in New Delhi for cooperation in the management of station development and workshop modernisation. 
  • Under the agreement the two countries will cooperate in the modernisation of signaling, telecom, information and communication technologies, especially for passenger. 
2) United States-India Cyber Dialogue 
2015 US - India Cyber Dialogue was held on 11 and 12 August 2015 at the US Department of State in Washington, DC. The dialogue was held with an aim to increase global cyber security and promote the digital economy. The whole-of-government Cyber Dialogue, fourth in the series, was led by the US Cyber security Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President Michael Daniel and by India`s Deputy National Security Advisor Arvind Gupta. 

3) India, Mozambique agree to deepen cooperation in energy sector

Current Affirs India and Mozambique on 5th August agreed to deepen cooperation in New and Renewable Energy. The two sides signed an MoU on expanding cooperation in energy sector. 
  • The visiting President of Mozambique, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said new and renewable energy is an important area for sustainable development. He said Africa and the Indian Ocean are among the highest priorities for India`s foreign policy and Mozambique is crucial for both. 
  • The Prime Minister said Mozambique can be a large and a proximate source of natural gas, coal and other minerals to meet India`s energy security. Both leaders discussed ways to intensify cooperation in maritime security and ocean economy as they have large coastlines and are linked by the Indian Ocean. 
  • Calling the discussions fruitful and positive, Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi said it was decided to enhance cooperation in a number of areas including oil and gas and that Indian companies will be welcomed for more investment in his country. 
  • A high-level delegation, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Minerals and Energy, Agriculture, Transportation and Communications and Interior are accompanying the visiting President besides senior officials and a business delegation. 
4) Centre to extend e Tourist Visa facility to 36 more countries from Aug 15
The Centre is going to extend the facility of e Tourist Visa to 36 more countries from 15th of this month. The new countries being included in the scheme are Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, East Timor, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, Malaysia, Mongolia, Monaco, Mozambique, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Seychelles, Slovenia, Spain, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Turks & Caicos Island, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela. 
  • With this addition, the total count of countries under the scheme will go upto 113. 
  • Simultaneously, the Centre is going to add 7 more Indian airports as designated airports for entry on e-Tourist Visa from August 15th. 
  • The new airports being included in the scheme are, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Gaya, Jaipur, Lucknow, Tirchy and Varanasi. With this, the total number of designated airports will become 16. The Centre has launched the scheme on November last year. The scheme has been extended to 77 countries at nine airports designated for providing e-Tourist visa service till now. Since the launch of the scheme more than 2 lakhs e-Tourist Visas have been issued till now. 
5) Seven more airports declared entry points for e-visa
Seven more airports including Varanasi and Ahmedabad have been declared as entry points along with the existing nine where citizens from eligible countries can land with an e-tourist visa. The government has also extended e-tourist visa facility to 36 more countries from 15th August, taking the total number of countries under the scheme upto 113. 
  • Besides Varanasi and Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Amritsar, Gaya, Lucknow and Trichy have been declared as entry points with e-tourist visa. The existing nine airports where one can land with an e-tourist visa are Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram. 
  • Among the countries that will benefit from the fresh extension of e-tourist visa are the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Malaysia, Tanzania and Argentina. Under the e-visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it is approved and he or she can travel with a print-out of this authorisation.  
  • On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country. Since the launch of the scheme on 27th November 2014, more than two lakh e-tourist visas have been issued till now. 
  • It is expected that this substantial addition of countries and airports will give a big boost to tourism industry in the country. 

6) India to boycott 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference 

India on 7 August 2015 decided to boycott the 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference which is slated to be held in Islamabad, Pakistan from 30 September to 8 October 2015. 
  • The unanimous decision to boycott the meeting was taken after the conclusion of the meeting of the Speakers of all State Legislative Assemblies that was called in New Delhi.  
  • The meeting was called to discuss the Pakistan`s deliberate decision to not invite the Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Kavinder Gupta. 
  • India protested the unilateral decision of Pakistan saying that by not inviting J&K speaker, it is violating the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) constitution and was against the guiding principles of the Commonwealth of promotion of international understanding, world peace and democratic governance. 
7) India affirms commitment to ASEAN engagement
India affirmed its commitment to provide momentum to its engagement with the "close-knit" ASEAN community, as the 10-member economic bloc agreed on a new action plan in areas like IT and healthcare. 
  • Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh told the ASEAN-India ministerial meeting in Kuala Lumpur that this year had a special significance for ASEAN-India strategic partnership. 
  • The meeting agreed on the new programme of action for the period 2016-2020 listing events and programmes to be held during that period mainly in the development side in areas like IT, healthcare with focus on malaria and diabetes, English language training centers by India. 
  • The ministers also discussed Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s upcoming visit to Malaysia and Singapore with the respective foreign ministers. The current five-year plan (2010-2015) to implement ASEAN-India partnership for peace, progress and shared prosperity, would expire at the end of this year. 
8) India and Myanmar inked agreement to set up CESDT in Myanmar
India and Myanmar on 6 August 2015 inked an agreement to set up Centre of Excellence in Software Development and Training (CESDT) in Myanmar. 
  • The project to be set up with the financial support through ASEAN-India Cooperation fund will be implemented by C-DAC. The project envisages setting up of a state of the art Information and Communication Technology Centre, imparting intensive teachers training, extending support for ICT curriculum development, and will be accredited as an authorized Centre of C-DAC. 
  • The agreement was signed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the visit of Minister of State for External Affairs of India Gen (Retd) VK Singh. Singh was in Malaysia to attend the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers` Meet.