Bilateral Current Affairs
February 1st Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) Singapore names Special Envoy to assist AP

The Singapore government has appointed its Ambassador-at-large Gopinath Pillai as Special Envoy to Andhra Pradesh to render advice on various issues relating to the building of the new capital, including tourism and bringing in capital from foreign companies.
  • According to Shanmugam the joint working group of Andhra Pradesh and Singapore Governments would deal with the technical issues. It was working quite well and the draft report of the first phase of the Master Plan to build a world class capital would be submitted by June. 
  • Apart from traditional models, there was a need to look at new models of sources for capital like international private equity.Single desk system would be introduced and clearances would be given in 21 days.
  • Edinburgh varsity inks 6 pacts with India
  • University of Edinburgh has signed four agreements with premier Indian institutes, according to its Principal and Vice-Chancellor Timothy O`Shea 
  • Apart from signing a Letter of Intent with National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, it has forged partnerships with the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and Anna University in Chennai.
  • It also signed two more partnerships with Corbett Foundation in Mumbai and Christian Medical College in Vellore. The tie-ups, apart from student exchanges, would help boost research in areas such as biotechnology, engineering, genetics, genomics.

2) India, Nepal begin joint military drill

India and Nepal on 23rd February began a battalion-level combined military training exercise in Kathmandu, focussing on counterterrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the mountainous and jungle terrain.
  • The 8th `Surya Kiran` exercise began at the Integrated Army Training Centre, Saljhandi, where the Nepalese contingent was represented by a battalion from an Infantry Division of Nepalese Army. The Indian side was represented by an equivalent strength from a Mountain Brigade.
  • The focus of the ongoing exercise is to carry out counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations in the mountainous and jungle terrain and to practice facets of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, including actions to be taken during pandemic, epidemic and various other humanitarian assistance situations. viation aspects and environmental conservation are also included in the scope of this exercise 
  • The two week-long exercise will see the contingents hone their tactical and technical skills in countering insurgency and terrorism. State-of-the-art equipment for surveillance and tracking, specialist weapons for close quarter battle with terrorists, explosives and IED detectors, as well as the latest communication equipment are being fielded by both sides. 
  • The two countries will train, plan and execute a series of well-developed combined tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in counterterrorism and counter-insurgency operations.


3) Make in India: Turkey offers infra support

Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek is in India to enhance the annual volume of bilateral trade between India and Turkey, which currently stands at a mere $7.5 billion compared with the over 1.2 trillion dollars worth of total external trade done by both countries. Turkey imported $56 billion worth of oil last year. He said that every $10 decline in oil prices would reduce Turkey’s current account deficit by 0.5% of its GDP.
4) Jaishankar to begin ‘SAARC Yatra’ from Bangladesh
Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar will begin his SAARC tour with a visit to Dhaka on March 2, followed by a visit to Islamabad, where he will resume India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary-level talks cancelled last year.
  • The decision to send Mr. Jaishankar was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he spoke to other SAARC leaders ahead of the World Cup in early February. At the time, he had informed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he would be sending the new Foreign Secretary to Pakistan.
5) Pact with Singapore Company in water management
Rajasthan on 25th February signed a grant agreement with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) on water management and to develop capabilities in urban water management in the state. The agreement was signed in the presence of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam.
  • The Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) was set up by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore in 2006 to respond effectively to the multitude of foreign requests interested in Singapore`s development experience.
  • SCE works closely with Singapore`s 15 ministries and over 60 statutory boards to scope out and tailor possible solutions to match the needs of foreign governments, and help meet their development objectives.
  • SCE also serves as the focal point of access to expertise from Singapore across its public agencies."As part of the pact, Singapore Cooperation Foundation will provide assistance in advisory and capacity building programme for the water management and recycle of waste water," a statement said.
  • A series of workshops will be conducted to build capacity of 100 officials from public health engineering department (PHED) and other relevant departments of Rajasthan government with the help of Temasek Foundation.
  • Set up by Temasek, an investment company based in Singapore, Temasek Foundation is a Singapore philanthropic organisation that seeks to build a more prosperous, stable and connected Asia through building human and social capital.Singapore Cooperation Enterprise will be the lead agency to aggregate a team of experts from Singapore.