International Current Affairs
July 3rd week 2015 current affairs
Category : International Current Affairs
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1) In Central Asia, Modi Jump-Starts India’s `Look North` Strategy.

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s whirlwind tour this month of the five Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkeminstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, with a stop in the middle in Russia, was a move to breathe life into the “Connect Central Asia” strategy launched under Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh, in 2012.
  • International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
  • It is a multi-modal trade transport network that includes strategic rail, road, and water transport connecting India with Central Asian and Eurasia Countries.
  1. It will connect Mumbai (India) via Chabahar and Bandar Abbas ports of Iran with Baku (Azerbaijan) to Moscow (Russia) and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe via the Caspian Sea.
  2. Economic Integration: It will help in facilitating India’s economic integration with Eurasian economies and other countries in surrounding regions. If India partners with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), it will further boost and expand its economic, trade and investment opportunities in more countries in this region.
  3. Shorter transport route: It will be a shorter route to transport goods to Eurasian and Central Asian regions compared to present route via Suez Canal and western European countries. Thus, reduce the cost of transporting goods from India to Eurasia.
  4. Natural resources access: It will help India to tap the abundant natural resources potential of Central Asian countries for its energy security. These countries are having rich deposits of petroleum, natural gas and uranium along with deposits of fertilizer inputs such as potash.
  5. Exports: Many sectors in this region are becoming increasingly service-oriented which can benefit India to export expertise in information technology and IT-enabled services.


2) Lower House of Japan’s Parliament approved bills changing self-defence law.
  • Lower House of Japan’s Parliament (Diet) approved 11 security-related bills that change the self-defence law, which was followed by Japan since World War - II.
  • The change paves the way for the Japanese military to potentially fight abroad for the first time since World War - II.
  • Now the bills need approval from the upper house within 60 days.
  • The biggest change under the new bills is that it allows Japan`s military to defend allies like the United States, that come under attack, under a concept known as collective self-defense.

3) India, Myanmar issued joint statement on bilateral cooperation.

  • India and Myanmar issued a joint statement on bilateral cooperation after the conclusion of the first meeting of the India-Myanmar Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) in New Delhi.
  • The JCC meeting was co-chaired by the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Foreign Minister of Myanmar U Wunna Maung Lwin.
  • The second JCC meeting is scheduled to be held in Myanmar in 2016.
About India, Myanmar joint statement:
  1. Bilateral MoU on Movement of People across the Land Border.
  2. Investments by Indian companies in areas like ports, power, agro-industries, forest products, mining, construction industry, consumer goods, highways, oil & gas, plantation, manufacturing, hospitality and ICT would be specifically encouraged.
4) In a first, china to participate in Indian international fleet review.
  • China has confirmed its participation in the Indian International Fleet Review (IFR) in Visakhapatnam in February 2016.
  • This is the first time the Chinese Navy will take part in the event.
  • Despite the growing maritime friction, both nations agreed on increasing bilateral naval cooperation during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to China.
  • The two sides will exchange visits of naval ships and hold PASSEX [passing exercises] and SAR [search and rescue] exercises.

5) 54 years on, US & Cuba to reopen embassies.

  • The United States and Cuba abolish one of the last vestiges of the Cold War; they restore diplomatic ties frozen for half a century.
  • For the first time since 1961, the Cuban red, white and blue flag will fly over Havana`s newly upgraded embassy in Washington, just a stone`s throw from the White House.
  • Rodriguez will earlier preside over a ceremony to mark the upgrading of the Cuban interests section to a full embassy.
  • Foreign policy legacy for US President Barack Obama, and Cuban counterpart Raul Castro agreed to end their estrangement and put their countries on track towards a full normalization of ties.
6) Tighter UK visa rules for Indian businessmen.
  • Indians coming to the UK for business or investing may soon have to produce proof that they don`t hold a criminal record in any country they have lived in over the past 10 years.
  • The UK is planning to float sweeping plans to tighten background checks in order to prevent international criminals from entering the country legally.
  • The initial phase of the scheme will apply to "Tier 1" visa applicants who apply for the visa as investors or entrepreneurs.
  • The mandatory rule will also apply to dependents and family members. If any applicant is found to have fudged the data, he or she will be banned from entering UK for at least 10 years.
7) Indo-Bangla joint survey in LBA enclaves over nationality preference concludes.
  • The official nationality preference survey in recently swapped 162 enclaves on India- Bangladesh border under the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) has ended. The survey was conducted by the Enclaves Exchange Co-ordination Committee (EECC) of both countries for ascertaining the nationality preference of over 50,000 enclave-residents.
  1. The nationality preference survey was conducted by 75 joint-teams of EECC under the modalities of the LAB. The agreement came in to effect after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh.
  2. India had swapped around 111 enclaves to Bangladesh, while the counterpart had had swapped 51 enclaves.
8) India, Russia sign customs pact to boost trade.
  • India and Russia have signed a customs and liberalize business visas agreement to boost trade between both countries to remove the hindrances and boost commerce.
  • This pact will help to rapid clearances of imported goods at the land and sea ports and addresses the issues related to the non-tariff barriers. Both countries also have fixed a target of US 30 billion dollars to be achieved by 2025.
  • This agreement will play important role proposed International North-South freight corridor (INSTC) for trade from India to Russia to central Asia through Iran.
9) India and Singapore signed agreement to enhance maritime cooperation.
  • India and Singapore signed Technical Agreement (TA) on sharing white-shipping information to enhance maritime cooperation between the two navies. The agreement was signed during the visit of Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan to Singapore.
  • The White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.
About Singapore Navy and the Indian Navy:
  1. The Singapore Navy and the Indian Navy conduct the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) together annually. In 2015, the SIMBEX was held in May, this was the 22nd in the series.
  2. Both navies also interact regularly through high-level visits, dialogues, joint military training, courses and other professional exchanges.
10) Japanese Cabinet approved Defence White Paper 2015.
The Japanese Cabinet approved the Defence White Paper for the year 2015. In the White Paper 2015, the cabinet described the security situation surrounding Japan as increasingly tough. The defence white paper for 2015 examines a range of global threats.
The annual paper was approved after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party rejected a draft version as it had failed to contain any reference to China’s construction of offshore platform in the East China Sea.
Highlights of the Defence White Paper 2015:
  1. In this 400-plus page document, Japan demanded China to stop the construction of a new offshore platform that could be used for military purposes in the East China Sea (ECS).
  2. Japan also criticized China for its military spending, saying it is now 41 times higher than in fiscal year 1989.
  3. It referred to successful test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile by Democratic People`s Republic of Korea, claiming that its nuclear tests pose a significant threat to Japan`s security.
  4. It also pointed to the conflict between Russia and the United States and Europe over the crisis in Ukraine, as well as Moscow`s increased military activity in the Asia-Pacific, the Arctic, Europe and near the mainland of the United States.
  5. Japan released its first white paper on defence in 1970 and has been compiling new versions of the Defence White Paper every year since 1976.