Bilateral Current Affairs
May 1st Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) Isro moots ground station in Vietnam

The Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) has mooted a proposal for a ground station in Vietnam. The organization already has a network of ground stations within the country, one in Mauritius and two in Indonesia.
  • The proposal is going to help India receive, process and use data from Indian satellites for a variety of applications including disaster management support
  • It can also be used to provide training in space science, technology and applications which will benefit other members of Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) too —Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
2) Cabinet clears agreement on coastal shipping
Current Affirs The Union Cabinet approved agreement on coastal shipping between India and Bangladesh to carry out movement of goods between the two countries.
  • Cabinet also approved signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh on prevention of human trafficking, especially of women and children, and speeding up prosecution. In another decision, government has decided to set up a committee headed by Prime Minister to commemorate Dr. B R Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary. Cabinet also gave its nod for reclassification and up gradation of some cities for granting House Rent and Transport Allowance to central government employees.

3) Cabinet clears signing of pact between India, Sweden on MSMEs

The government on 30th May approved signing of an agreement between India and Sweden to promote cooperation in the MSME sector. The cooperation opens up doors of new opportunities for the domestic MSME sector by way of new markets, joint ventures, sharing of best practices and technology collaborations, among others. The objective of the MoU is to promote cooperation between the MSMEs of the two countries.
  • It provides a structured framework and enabling environment to the MSME sector in the two countries to understand each other`s strengths, markets, technologies and policies. 
  • The MoU also contains an agreement to enable respective MSMEs to participate in each other`s trade fairs/exhibitions and to exchange business delegations, to understand policy and explore markets so that joint ventures, tie-ups and technology transfer among others could take place.
  • The agreement, however, does not contain or involve any financial, legal or political commitment on the part of either party. In no case does it attract any financial liability on the part of the government. 
  • The MSME Ministry has so far entered into long-term agreements for cooperation in the MSME sector with ministries or organisations of 17 countries namely, Tunisia, Romania, Rwanda, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, Algeria, Sudan, Cote d`lvoire, Egypt, Botswana, South Korea, Mozambique, Indonesia, Vietnam and Mauritius.
4) Indian PM visit to Mongolia
Current Affirs Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17th May met Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. Several key issues to strengthen bilateral cooperation between both the countries were discussed during the meet.
  • It`s the first ever visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Mongolia. Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj gifted Prime Minister Narendra Modi The Morin Khuur, traditional Mongolian instrument.
  • The Prime Minister also presented President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj a specially commissioned reproduction of a rare 13th century manuscript on the history of Mongols from the Rampur Raza Library, Rampur. The manuscript is a part of Volume 1 of the work and no other copy of it is known to exist. 
  • India, Mongolia sign 14 agreements: India and Mongolia on 17th May signed 14 agreements, including an air services agreement and in cyber securit. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Mongolian counterpart Chimed Saikhanbileg inked a new bilateral strategic partnership agreement after their talks at the State Palace. Among the 14 agreements is to set up a cyber security training centre in the Mongolian defence ministry, a MoU in the field of new and renewable energy, and for setting up an India-Mongolia Friendship Secondary School in Mongolia. 
  • Both sides inked an air services agreement and on the transfer of sentenced prisoners. A separate agreement in the field of traditional systems of medicine and homeopathy was also signed. 
  • 1 billion USD credit line to Mongolia: Upgrading India and Mongolia`s relationship from Comprehensive to "Strategic Partnership", Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a credit line of 1 billion US dollars to Mongolia to expand its economic capacity and infrastructure
  • Taking the economic partnership to a new level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to support in expansion of Mongolia`s economic capacity and infrastructure.
  • Terming Mongolia as an integral part of India`s Act East Policy, Prime Minister Modi said both the countries can work together to help advance peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
  • The Prime Minister added that India attaches high importance to Mongolia`s security cooperation and will help in establishing a cyber security centre in Mongolia`s defence and security establishment 
  • Radiotherapy machines to cancer hospital: Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over two high-tech machines for the only cancer hospital at Ulan Bator. The indigenous machines have been developed in collaboration with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. The high-tech machines for radiotherapy will also promote the Make in India campaign in Mongolia as only 5 companies worldwide can make such machines.
  • Foundation for IT Centre in Ulan Bator: The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of IT Centre at Mongolian University of Science and Technology in the capital Ulan bator
  • Ceremony of Naadam Festival: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17th May witnessed the opening ceremony of Naadam Festival. Naadam which means games and it is the biggest event of the Mongolian year. It is being celebrated all over the country. 
  • It features the three sports, mainly wrestling, archery and horse racing. The strongest wrestlers, fastest horses and expert marksmen come together to compete for the National title. 
  • Modi to Gandan Monastery: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit Mongolia, visited the ancient Gandan Monastery in the Mongolian capital and also presented a sapling of the revered Bodhi tree to the chief abbot of the Buddhist temple. 
  • Modi also lighted incense at the monastery, also known as the Gandantegchinlen Monastery. He also went to the Janraisag Monastery, inside the Gandan monastery complex. The Janraisag monastery houses a 26-metre tall statue of Janraisag Buddha. 
  • The Gandantegchinlen Monastery was established in 1835 by the Fifth Jebtsundamba, the highest reincarnated lama of Mongolia. 
  • The monastery has three colleges of Buddhist philosophy: a medical and astrological college, a Kalachakra temple, a Jud Tantric College and an the Migjid Janraisig temple which houses the Avalokiteshvara statue. 
  • Most Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia were destroyed during the communist regime, which lasted until 1990. The only one to survive was the Gandan Monastery.

5) India, South Korea 7 agreements

South Korea on 18th May decided to provide USD 10 billion to India for infrastructure, development of smart cities, railways, power generation and other diversified areas as the two countries agreed to upgrade their bilateral relationship to a "Special Strategic Partnership
  • Both the countries signed seven pacts to enhance bilateral cooperation. The agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye in Seoul. 
  • The two leaders held comprehensive discussions and agreed to further broaden the cooperation between the two nations. 
  • Both countries have agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to a special strategic partnership and enhance defense ties. 
  • The Indian Prime Minister said that the two nations have agreed to enhance the bilateral ties to the level of special strategic relations. 
  • The Prime Minister said that India and South Korea have agreed to further boost the participation of South Korean companies under the `Make In India` programme.
  • India-Korea trade ties:India and South Korea have a robust economic engagement, and Prime Minister Modi`s visit is set to deepen the partnership between both the countries. 
  • Important business meets and signing of agreements will be a part of Prime Minister`s itinerary as significant business in fields of trade, shipping, logistics and new energy is expected to be conducted. 
  • India and Korea trade ties hold significance as bilateral trade between both countries currently stands at around 17 billion dollars. 
  • Some 400 companies are doing business in India with investments of over 3 billion dollars. The focus is on getting assistance from South Korea for smart cities, Digital India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan programmes 
  • PM meets UN chief in South Korea
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 18th May met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Seoul and discussed key global issues with him 
  • Discussed key global issues during the wonderful meeting with @UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon," Narendra Modi tweeted. Ban is a South Korean national. He is set to retire in 2016 after two terms.
  • PM at Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the tour of the urban renewal project Cheonggyecheon Stream which was cleaned up and is a model for similar projects around the world. The Prime Minster`s visit to the Stream is considered significant as it comes at a time when government is promoting Swacch Bharat abhiyan and Clean Ganga campaigns 
Three nations tour concluded:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for increased investment from South Korean Companies into India. He held discussions with CEO forum in Seoul, he underlined the potential of cooperation between South Korean expertise in hardware with software capabilities of India. He said……..
  1. Government of India plans to build 50 million houses by 2022 as also build Smart Cities, industrial corridors and mega investment regions which provide immense investment opportunities for South Korean business and industry.
  2. India invited the Korean companies to invest in India in the Railways, sea ports and shipbuilding, housing, power and infrastructure sectors among others.
  3. PM also said that Indian government is committed to cleaner and greener development in the country for which ‘Zero defect, Zero Effect’ approach to manufacturing has been adopted.
  4. In the sixth Asian Leadership Forum, Prime Minister called for an inclusive international economic growth and collective efforts by Asian countries for a faster growth. In a reference to climate change, the Prime Minister said, we need to change our lifestyles. He called upon Asian countries to work together for cleaner technologies.
  5. In South Korea the two countries signed revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and agreed to renegotiate the India Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). A development package of 10 billion US dollars under export credit and development fund for infrastructure including smart cities, railways and power sectors was also announced by the South Korean government as an outcome of the visit.
  6. On the international front, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a call for an inclusive international economic growth and collective efforts by Asian countries for a faster growth. He called upon Asian countries to work together for cleaner technologies.
6) Joint ministers summit, between India and South Africa
9th Session of the India-South Africa Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) was held in Durban on 19 May 2015. The session was co-chaired by Minister for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of South Africa Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. They agreed to make it more result-oriented, the two ministers agreed to work under the framework of a five year strategic programme of cooperation and decided to establish a new Joint Working Group on Trade & Economic matters on it. They also identified priority areas of cooperation and they are defence, deep-mining, science and technology, agriculture & food processing and insurance.
  • Both sides also agreed to set up a Sub-Committee on Science & Technology and promote cooperation in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  • Swaraj and Mashabane also discussed regional and multilateral issues including BRICS, IBSA, IORA, counter-terrorism, cyber security, reforms of multilateral institutions, especially the United Nations Security Council.