Bilateral Current Affairs
February 3rd Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) India to explore mineral deposits off Mauritius coast

India will soon start exploration of mineral deposits, mainly poly metallic sulphides, along the 10,000 square kilometre mid-ocean ridge off Mauritius, following approval from the International Seabed Authority (ISA)
  • The exploration activity would actually begin after the Government of India signs a 15-year contract with the ISA within a year.
  • The exploration is expected to lead to vast deposits of lead, zinc and copper, ranging from several thousand tonnes to about 100 million tonnes. It involves mixing hydrothermal fluids with the surrounding cold sea water, which leads to their precipitation onto the chimney vents and thereby the formation of massive deposits of lead, zinc and copper.
2) India, Singapore look to enhance ties
The visiting Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on 9th February.
  • The two sides had wide-ranging discussions on enhancing bilateral relations and strengthening cooperation on regional and international issues so as to raise the partnership between the two countries to a higher level
  • The discussions covered new focus areas that will directly feed into the development process. These include specific initiatives to develop smart cities and urban rejuvenation, promoting skill development, measures to speed up connectivity and coastal and port development, strengthening linkages with the North East of India, projects to scale up investments in the new development initiatives launched in India and enhancing exchanges with the Indian state.

3) Chambers sign pact to boost trade with Lanka

The Indian Merchants’ Chamber and the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote bilateral trade and investments in both the countries.A business delegation representing different segments including spices, herbal product, dry fruit, aerosol products, cosmetic chemicals, engineering and fabrication and IT/ITES visited Sri Lanka to explore various opportunities. In the first seven months of this fiscal, Indian exports to Sri Lanka grew 14 per cent to $3.71 billion while imports were at $327 million, up seven per cent.

4) Israel offers expertise to clean up Ganga

In an effort to deepen economic cooperation, Israel has offered its expertise and technological capabilities to India in its ambitious drive to clean up the Ganga.A preliminary offer on this was made when Amit Lang, Director-General of the Ministry of Economy, Israel, met Indian officials on 10th February. Israel has made significant technological advancement in desalination and drip irrigation with the world’s largest desalination plants and recycles 90 per cent of water for agricultural needs.
5) TAPI project: India pushes for early appointment of consortium leader
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on 11th February pitched for early selection and appointment of a leader to head the consortium of companies to build the ambitious cross-country Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline.
  • Pradhan, in Islamabad to attend the 20th meeting of theTAPI Steering Committee made a renewed pitch for the expeditious appointment of a mutually acceptable Consortium leader which is a vital step in the implementation of the project in a time-bound manner
  • Talks over the $10-billion pipeline project are currently stuck over the appointment of a leader of the consortium of state-owned gas utilities of the four nations, including India’s GAIL (India) Ltd, to build the pipeline. The project aims to transport 90 mscmd of gas over 30 years from Turkmenistan to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan.