Bilateral Current Affairs
Bilateral Current Affairs January 2nd Week 2016
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Bilateral Current Affairs January 2nd Week 2016

1) India and Arab League declared Manama Declaration

  • India and Arab League have condemned terrorism in all its forms and rejected associating terrorism with any religion, culture and ethnic group. In the Manama Declaration released after India- Arab League First Ministerial Meeting in Baharain on 24th January, the two sides emphasised the concerted regional and international efforts to combat terrorism. The two sides stressed on the need to develop a strategy to eliminate the sources of terrorism and extremism including its funding as well as combating organised cross-borders crimes.
  1. They also supported the efforts of UN Counter Terrorism Committee and adoption of comprehensive convention on international terrorism at the earliest.
  2.     India and Bahrain have vowed to strengthen their ties in key areas like trade and counter-terrorism besides signing an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons.
  3.     External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held wide-ranging discussions with Bahrain`s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa in this regard in capital Manama on 23rd January.
  4.     The two leaders signed the agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons.
  5.     According to the pact, once an expatriate has been sentenced in the other country, the sentence can be served in the country of origin.
  6.     The Gulf region accounts for over 60 per cent of India`s oil and gas requirement. India and the Arab League are expected to deliberate on the whole gamut of bilateral issues including trade and investment, energy and culture among others.


2) India and France inks more than 25 pacts

  • An agreement between Airbus Group and Mahindra for manufacture of helicopters and three MoUs under the `Smart City` theme were among the 16 pacts signed between India and France in Chandigarh on 24th January.
  • The Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), which cover a wide range of sectors like urban development, urban transport, water and waste treatment and solar energy, were signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, who began his three-day visit from 24th January onwards.
  • Three MoUs were signed under the `Smart city` theme for city-specific urban development between French Development Agency (AFD) with the state governments for the cities of Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry.
  • A joint Venture between Indian SITAC group and EDF Energie Nouvelles was signed to acquire 50 per cent stake in its renewable energy business in Gujarat.
  • A letter of intent between CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and CG (Crompton Greaves) was also signed during the business summit.
  • Another Letter of Intent was signed between CEA and Green Ventures. The CEA will work on off grid solar photovoltaic projects in the Indian rural areas with the aim to deliver tangible climate change benefits.
  • Besides, nine French companies signed MoUs with Engineering Projects India (EPI) Ltd, a public sector company fully owned by the government of India.
  • The MoUs between the nine companies and the EPI are in the field of new and cutting edge French technologies for smart and sustainable cities.

3) Pacts in different fields

  • India and France have expressed their commitment to be partners for a greener, safer, more secure and more prosperous future.
  • They decided to deepen cooperation in a range of areas from locomotives to satellites, archival excavations to smart cities and solar energy to nuclear power, defence, railway, food safety and public administration.
  • The two nations inked 14 pacts in different fields after holding delegation level talks with visiting French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 25th January.
  • Mr Modi said, India and France have signed Inter-Governmental Agreement on purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. He hoped that the financial issues pertaining to purchase of Rafale jets will be resolved soon. The two countries are in negotiations for 36 Rafale fighter jets in fly away conditions since the announcement for the deal was made by Mr Modi in April during his visit to France.
  • However, the final deal is yet to be sealed as both sides are still negotiating the price which is estimated to be about Rs. 60 thousand crore.
  • On terrorism, Prime Minister Modi urged the global community to act against those who provide safe havens to terrorists and nurture them financially provide training and infrastructure support.
  • He said understanding between India and France on counter terrorism underscores determination to combat all forces that sponsor, shelter and support terrorism.
  • He said the two countries have agreed to scale up the range of counter-terrorism cooperation to tangibly mitigate and reduce the threat of terrorism and extremism.
  • India and France have decided to prepare a roadmap to tackle all forms of trafficking while ensuring maritime security in the Indian Ocean.

4) India, Armenia sign protocol amending Double Taxation Avoidance Convention

  • India and Armenia on 27th January signed Protocol amending the India-Armenia Double Taxation Avoidance Convention in New Delhi. The Protocol amends the Article on exchange of information for tax purposes to bring it in line with the updated provisions in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Model.
  • It will enable the two countries to exchange information related to financial and banking transactions and facilitate them in addressing tax evasion. It is also expected to further strengthen India`s efforts to curb generation of black money.
  • IT Department resolves over 100 transfer pricing cases of US companies
  • India and the U.S. have reached an agreement to resolve more than 100 pending transfer pricing cases, one of the biggest deterrents for foreign investors planning an India foray
  • Some more are expected to be resolved soon. Transfer pricing refers to the setting of the price of goods or services sold between entities within an enterprise. For example, if a subsidiary sells good or services to its parent company, then the price set for this sale is the transfer price.
  • Many cases have been pending for between four and five years. The real headway in resolving them was made after the Framework Agreement between the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the revenue authorities in the US in January 2015.