Bilateral Current Affairs
January 1st Week 2015 Current Affairs
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) Nuclear Pact between India and US

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama on 25th January reached an understanding that will take the civil nuclear co-operation agreement signed between the two countries, stuck for the past six years, towards commercial implementation.
  • The US has also agreed to support India in getting full membership in four international export control regimes, at the earliest. These are exclusive clubs or groups where the US has an upper hand.
  • One of the groups is of nuclear suppliers. Obama said two issues relating to the civil nuclear cooperation have been resolved. 
  • The two leaders set the tone of an administrative agreement, which will broadly be based on the lines of the one India has with Canada. The US has agreed to drop its demand for tracking India’s usage of nuclear fuel and equipment. The US will go only by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspections. 
  • The two countries have also reached an understanding on creation of a Rs 750-crore insurance pool (India’s General Insurance and four other public sector undertakings will create the account) that would circumvent the liability clause. This will be similar to 26 such other existing pools globally. India has signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with Australia, France, Namibia, Argentina, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Canada, the UK and South Korea. 
  • While India has been importing from Kazakhstan and Russia, other countries have had their eyes on the commercialization of India’s pact with US before moving forward with their own bilateral nuclear agreements.
2) India, US to re-start talks on social security pact
Seeking to further strengthen bilateral economic relations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25th January said India and the US will "restart" discussions on the Social Security Agreement and resume talks on Bilateral Investment Treaty.
  • In addition, Modi said the two countries have established a number of effective bilateral mechanisms to identify opportunities and also help their businesses trade and invest more. India wants early conclusion of the tantalization agreement or Social Security Agreement with the US.
  • The US has entered into agreements, called `Tantalization Agreements`, with several nations for the purpose of avoiding double taxation of income with respect to social security taxes. Under these, professionals of both the countries would be exempted from social security taxes when they go to work for a short period in the other country. 
  • The two countries are also engaged in negotiations for a Bilateral Investment Treaty to protect investments between the two nations. The bilateral trade between India and the US is estimated at about USD 100 billion. FDI flows from the US to India have totaled USD 13.28 billion from April 2000 to November 2014.

3) Obama visit sees many firsts

Current Affirs The three-day India visit of US President Barack Obama saw the ceremonial Guard of Honour being led by a woman officer for the first time.Obama inspected the Guard of Honour, commanded by Wing Commander Pooja Thakur during the ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on 25th January. She is the first woman to achieve this feat Obama is the first American President to be the Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day Parade, and also the first US President to have visited India twice during his tenure.

4) Gift to Obama

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25th January gifted President Barack Obama a piece of India-U.S. history, a copy of the first telegram from the United States to India’s Constituent Assembly in 1946.The telegram was sent by the then Acting Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, to Sachchidananda Sinha, provisional Chairman of the Constituent Assembly. Mr. Modi presented the copy after he received Mr. Obama at Hyderabad House.
  • The copy was the reproduction of the telegram read out at the inaugural sitting of the Constituent Assembly on December 9, 1946.
5) MoU signed to develop Vizag as Smart City
The Andhra Pradesh government and US Trade Development Agency on 25th January signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of Visakhapatnam as smart city. The MoU was signed in the national capital on the first day of US President Barack Obama`s three-day visit to India.
  • AP Chief Secretary IYR Krisha Rao and US Trade Development Agency (USTDA) Director Leocadia I Zac signed the MoU in presence of Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and various officials of the US and Indian governments. Under this agreement, USTDA intends to contribute funding for feasibility/pilot studies, and study tours workshops/trainings. It will also support consultancies and advisories for the development of Visakhapatnam into smart city 
  • Other agencies of the US government like the department of commerce and US Exim Bank would also support the effort of the two parties to the MoU.