Bilateral Current Affairs
Bilateral Current Affairs February 1st Week 2016
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) India extends USD 1 million immediate aid to cyclone hit Fiji

  • Current Affirs India has extended one million dollars as immediate assistance to Fiji, which was hit by a severe cyclone. According to the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup, the island nation was hit by the cyclone Winston which brought with it wind gusts of 325 kilometres per hour and waves up to 12 metres high, flattening crops and decimating villages completely.
  • Meanwhile, the death toll from the super-cyclone has reached 29. People are sheltering in evacuation centres. There`s considerable damage across the main island Viti Levu and the island of Koro, which were directly hit by strong winds.
  • As aid efforts intensified, communications were established with some of the worst-hit remote communities, revealing the scale of the disaster. Officials say the Pacific nation`s recovery from the devastating storm could take months.
  • Power is gradually being restored in the main centres and roads cleared of felled trees. The international airport at Nadi also reopened yesterday, allowing international tourists caught up in the disaster to return home.

2) India approves $150 million Iran port plan

  • India approved a $150 million project to develop the strategic Iranian port of Chabahar, which includes a transit route to Afghanistan bypassing neighbouring Pakistan, a government statement said on 24th February.
  • India signed a multi-million-dollar memorandum of understanding with Tehran last May to develop the port on its southeastern coast, but the deal had been stuck since. The approval came at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The statement said the project would “provide opportunities to Indian companies to penetrate and enhance its footprint in the region,” adding: “Cabinet approves provision of credit of $150 million USD to Islamic Republic of Iran for Chabahar port development.

3) Now, e-visa for tourists from 37 more nations

  • Electronic tourist visas (e-TVs) will be extended to citizens of 37 more countries from 26th February onwards, taking the total number to 150. The new additions are Albania, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Iceland, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Namibia, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad & Tobago, Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • TVoA (tourist visa on arrival), enabled by electronic travel authorisation, popularly known as the e-tourist visa scheme, was launched on November 27, 2014. Since then, more than 7.5 lakh such visas have been issued. At present, on an average, 3,500 e-TVs are granted daily.

4) MoU between ICG, PMSA extended

  • The MoU between Indian Coast Guard, ICG, and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, PMSA, has been extended. This has been done mutually through diplomatic channels for the period of further five years from 17th of March this year.
  • External Affairs Ministry said, MoU envisaged cooperation between ICG and PMSA through exchange of information on EEZ violations, apprehended vessels, marine pollution, natural disasters/ calamities, combating smuggling, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and piracy and coordination in search and rescue and return sea passage.
  • It also established a communication link which is operational. Under the provisions of the MOU, Directors General of ICG and PMSA meet periodically. The MOU, signed on 3rd of October in 2005, had come into effect on 16 March 2006.