Bilateral Current Affairs
March 2nd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) India, East Africa set to tap joint business opportunities

Businesses in India and East Africa are set to collaborate in sectors such as cotton and textiles, IT, leather, oil meal, spices, medical equipment and coffee under a programme rolled out by the International Trade Centre (ITC).
  • The Export Import (EXIM) Bank of India and industry body CII have partnered with ITC — a joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations for enhancing trading capacities of developing countries — to identify potential trade partners from India and finance the ventures. 
  • While ITC’s effort is to help African countries improve scale, technology and productivity, Indian investors too stand to gain a stronger foothold in the African market, which has been growing at 6-7 per cent over the last decade. “It makes sense for Indian companies to help African companies build these markets,” she said. Indian businesses, especially mid-size ones, have shown a lot of interest in the five East African countries ever since discussions on the programme began six months ago. 
  • Businesses in both countries and the EXIM Bank have identified sectors with potential such as cotton & textiles, IT, pulses, leather and medical equipment for possible cooperation.
  • ITC and the Central government are helping to explain to the East African countries the export opportunities in India under the Duty Free Quota Free programme of the WTO for Least Developed Countries. Financing investments of Indian companies in Africa will also not be a problem, as the EXIM Bank has existing lines of credit that could be tapped. India’s exports to East African countries in 2013-14 were $10 billion, over 3 per cent of its total exports, while imports were stood at only $1 billion (0.23 per cent of total imports)

2) No more policy hurdles to India, US nuke deal

The India-US Nuclear Contact Group has acknowledged that all policy hurdles for the implementation of the civil nuclear deal between India and the US no longer exist.
The Contact Group was established with a view to advance the implementation of India-US civil nuclear cooperation and was set up after a decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barrack Obama during Modi’s visit to the US.
3) India and Mauritius announce security cooperation pact
India and Mauritius announced a new security cooperation agreement on 11th March, as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Indian Ocean outreach.
In Port Louis, on the second leg of his three-nation tour to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, Mr. Modi and Mauritian Prime Minister Aneerood Jugnauth signed five agreements, one on opening up the “ocean economy”, or “blue economy”.
  • Another is a key memorandum of understanding that will see India taking over responsibility to build transport infrastructure (sea and air links) for the Agalega Islands. 
  • This agreement would give India a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean region, working closely with the Mauritius Defense Forces guarding the outer islands. In addition, India has extended a $500-million Line of Credit for development or security projects that Mauritius will decide on. 
  • The highlight of India’s push for maritime heft during the visit will be the commissioning of a 1,300-tonne, Indian-built coastal patrol vessel, MCGS Barracuda , on 12th March. The ship will showcase India’s commitment on maritime security, particularly along the African coast that faces the threat of piracy. It is also part of the government’s “Make in India” programme. Ahead of Mr. Modi’s visit, two Indian warships, the destroyer INS Delhi and the hydrographic survey ship INS Sarvekshak , have arrived off the coast of Port Louis as further evidence of Indian presence and assistance in the region. 
  • India’s security cooperation agreements in the Seychelles have set the course for Mr. Modi’s foreign policy initiative for India to become a “net security provider” in the Indian Ocean region, in a bid to counter China’s increasing influence there.

4) India, Seychelles sign 4 pacts including hydro-graphic survey

Cementing its strategic partnership with Seychelles, India on 11th March signed four agreements with the Indian Ocean island nation to boost security and maritime partnership.
Agreements are in the fields of military, maritime, hydrographic survey and air services advancing economic and maritime cooperation between both the countries.