Bilateral Current Affairs
Bilateral Current Affairs February 2nd Week 2016
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) Sri Lanka govt sets up Joint Working Committee on proposed ETCA with India

  • Current Affirs Sri Lanka government has announced setting up of a Joint Working Committee with representatives from 45 professional bodies to take their views on the proposed Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement with India.
  • According to the officials of the Ministry of Development Strategy and International Trade, a group of professional met the Minister, Mr Malik Samarawickreme, who is negotiating the treaty on behalf of Sri Lanka, and expressed concerns over the treaty.
  • The Joint mechanism will have professionals including doctors, engineers, architects, IT professionals and nominees from business chambers. In a bid to attract more private investment from India, Sri Lanka government is keen to sign the ETCA this year. Sri Lanka is the biggest trade partner of India in the SAARC region with 3.2 billion dollar annual bilateral trade.
  • The Joint Commission meeting co-chaired by the Foreign Ministers in Colombo earlier this month had agreed to organize workshops in Colombo to educate people on the benefits of the treaty and to remove misgivings in certain sections.

2) India, Nepal sign seven accords

  • India and Nepal signed seven agreements on 20th February at a summit meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepal counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli, even as leaders of the Madhesi people in Nepal threatened one more blockade.
  • According to the Nepal Prime Minister Mr.Oli both sides were determined to avoid the disruption of Nepal’s transit facilities as experienced over the past five months. Referring to Nepal’s dependence on India for receiving essential commodities, Mr.Oli said without naming Madhesi protesters, “Unscrupulous elements should not be allowed to abuse the open borders between Nepal and India”.
  • According to the Nepali sources that differences persisted between India and Nepal over how to address the aspirations of the blockade-enforcing Madhesis, the “unscrupulous elements” in Mr.Oli’s speech. During the talks, the Indian side reportedly displayed a different understanding of the “unscrupulous elements”.
  • Highlighting the differences over the Madhesi population on the India-Nepal border, a senior official said, “By unscrupulous elements, we refer to the fake currency racket, and other such elements in that region that hurt Indian security”.
  • Though both the sides tried to address the grievances of the pro-blockade agitators by agreeing to build a road network in the Madhes region, the leaders of the Madhesis are planning more agitation.
  • Meanwhile, more than two dozen Madhesi students from Nepal, arrested on 19th February, were remanded in judicial custody in Tihar jail. The students were arrested by the Delhi police when they tried to reach the embassy of Nepal where Mr.Oli was attending a public reception.

3) India pledges 250 million dollars for post-earthquake re-construction in Nepal

  • India has pledged 250 million dollars for post-earthquake re-construction in Nepal. An MoU in this regard was signed between Foreign Ministers of both countries after the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.
  • 100 million dollars will be utilised for construction of 50,000 houses in 14 severely affected districts. 50 million each will be utilised in health, education and cultural heritage sectors in 31 earthquake affected districts of Nepal.
  • Nearly 9,000 people were killed in the earthquake and aftershocks in Nepal last year. Nearly a million houses and buildings were damaged. India and Nepal also inked nine agreements in fields like road infrastructure, arts and culture and railways. Besides, Mr Modi and Mr Oli inaugurated 400 KV Muzzafarpur- Dhalkebar transmission line.

4) India, UAE energy ties to grow following Sheikh Mohamed`s visit

  • Current Affirs The cooperation between India and the UAE in the energy sector is expected to grow following the visit to India of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, beginning on10th February.
  • The visit comes six months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to strengthen bilateral ties and increase investments between the two countries.
  • A number of new agreements are likely to be signed, including on oil and gas and renewable energy, as part of the Abu Dhabi crown prince`s visit, Gulf News, a UAE-based daily, said.
  • A memorandum of understanding already exists between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, (Adnoc), and the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve. India is seen as an important customer for UAE oil and the cooperation could stretch to UAE investment in developing energy reserves of gas and oil in India," Gary Dugan, chief investment officer at Emirates NBD
  • India imports about 270,000 barrels of crude oil per day, with the UAE being the sixth-largest supplier of the commodity to India.