Bilateral Current Affairs
Bilateral Current Affairs 2nd Week 2016
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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1) India and 10 South-east Asian countries decide to set up fund for health emergencies in region

  • Current Affairs India along with 10 other member countries of WHO`s South-East Asian Regional Committee has decided to set up a dedicated fund aimed at building preparedness for health emergencies in the region. Taking part in the 69th session of WHO Regional Committee Meeting at Colombo, they also passed a resolution for promoting physical activity and expanding health workforces across the region.
  • In the recent years, earthquakes, cyclones and floods have caused health emergencies in south-east Asian region and it has also been threatened by a range of emerging diseases, including SARS, MERS CoV, pandemic influenza and Zika virus.
  • Another resolution passed by the session was promoting physical activity. Insufficient physical activity is a major contributor to rising rates of non-communicable diseases in the region, with four-fifth of adolescents not getting enough of it.
2) Modi met various leaders, side lines of G-20 summit
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Chinese President Xi Jinping on sidelines of G-20 Summit in Hangzhou that both countries have to be sensitive to each other`s aspirations, concerns and strategic interests. Modi reiterated that response to terrorism must not be motivated by political considerations.
Saudi Arabia in Hangzhou:
  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman in Chinese city of Hangzhou and held discussions on UNSC reform and on enhancing bilateral ties in various areas including energy and maritime security.
  3. In the meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Mr. Modi called for strengthened partnership with Saudi Arabia in various areas such as maritime security, infrastructure, low-cost housing and energy sector.
3) India, Chile expand preferential trading pact to boost economic ties
  • India and Chile have expanded their Preferential Trade Agreement with both agreeing to substantially lower tariffs on a number of items. Chile has offered concessions to India on 1,798 items with margin of preference (extent to which duties are lower than those offered to other countries) ranging from 30 per cent to100 per cent. India’s offer to Chile is on 1,031 products with a margin of preference between 10 per cent and 100 per cent. 
  • The agreement on the expansion of India-Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) was signed in a meeting between Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia and Chilean Ambassador to India Andrés Barbe Gonzalez on 6th September. 
  • India’s exports to Chile, its third largest trading partner in Latin America, includes a variety of items such as transport equipment, pharmaceuticals, textile and apparel, tyres and tubes, metal products, chemicals, plastic goods, leather products, engineering goods, imitation jewellery, sports goods and handicrafts. 
  • Major items of import from Chile are copper ore and concentrates, iodine, copper anodes, copper cathodes, molybdenum ores & concentrates, lithium carbonates & oxide, metal scrap, inorganic chemicals, pulp & waste paper, fruits & nuts, fertilisers and machinery. India’s bilateral trade with Chile was $2.64 billion in 2015-16, with exports at $0.68 billion and imports at $1.96 billion.

4) India inks open skies pact with Greece

  • India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Greece to allow unlimited number of flights into each other’s countries
  • Under the new civil aviation policy, India plans to enter into ‘open sky’ air service agreements (ASA) with SAARC countries and with countries beyond 5,000 km radius from Delhi. 
  • Countries sign ASAs through bilateral negotiations to decide on the number of flights that airlines can fly into each other’s countries. Under the open sky pact, there is no restriction on flights or seats. 
  • At present, India has an open sky agreement with the U.S. and a near open sky agreement with the U.K. under which there are certain limitations on the number of flights that can be operated at the Mumbai and Delhi Airports. For ASEAN or SAARC countries, India has an open sky agreement with more than a dozen countries. 
  • India will soon hold talks with Dubai to increase the bilateral seat entitlements with them. Before that, the Civil Aviation Secretary said, it will call a meeting with the domestic airlines by September 20 to ascertain their future flight plans to the Dubai Airport.
5) Export of terror common security threat: PM Modi to ASEAN nations
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8th September expressed deep concern at the rising "export of terror", in an apparent reference to Pakistan, saying it is a common security threat to the region as he sought a coordinated response from ASEAN member nations to combat the menace.
  • While addressing the 14th ASEAN-India summit in Vientiane, Laos, the Prime Minister also noted that growing radicalism through the ideology of hatred and spread of extreme violence are the other security threats. He said that in the face of growing traditional and nontraditional challenges, political cooperation has emerged as key in relations.
  • India supports freedom of navigation based on United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he added. Laotian premier Thongloun Sisoulith complimented India`s Act East policy and its contribution to ASEAN and hoped the summit will provide future direction.
6) First BRICS film festival begins in New Delhi
  • Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore and Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh inaugurated the first BRICS film festival in New Delhi on 2nd September. The film festival is the run up to the BRICS summit which is to be held in Goa next month. 
  • The five day festival will act as a platform for people of the film industry of member countries to explore areas of cooperation in the domain of cinema, culture and cuisine.

7) India extends $500 million Line of Credit to Vietnam for defence cooperation

  • Current Affairs India and Vietnam on 3rd September signed 12 agreements in different areas of cooperation. The agreements include exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, double taxation avoidance, co-operation on UN peacekeeping operation, health, cyber scurity, advanced IT training, sharing of shipping information between the Navies of the two countries and mutual recognition of standards. 
  • Both countries have also agreed to elevate bilateral relations from Strategic Partnership to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. 
  • Modi also announced a line of credit of 500 million US dollars to Vietnam to facilitate deeper defence cooperation. 
8) India, African nations agree to take steps to boost health & research collaborations
  • India and African nations have decided to take major steps to boost collaborations in joint medical research and work to harmonise regulatory frameworks to develop the pharmaceutical market in Africa. 
  • At the conclusion of the first India-Africa Health Sciences Meet in New Delhi said, India and over 20 African nations, agreed to take concrete steps to boost health and research collaborations. 
  • The statement said both India and Africa decided to make efforts to ensure accessible and affordable health services for all.
  • It was also agreed to initiate more scholarships, exchange programmes and collaborative research projects to facilitate and expedite research work for improved understanding of common diseases. 
  • Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Soumya Swaminathan said that the principles for this partnership are clear and it will be reciprocal and built on complementary strengths for developing excellence in clinical and biomedical research in both regions. 
  • Jointly organised by ICMR, Health Ministry, and External Affairs Ministry, the three-day meet offered a common platform to policymakers, technocrats, scientists, medical specialists, researchers and industry leaders from the two regions.
  • The ministries of Commerce and Industry, Science and Technology, and Chemicals and Fertilisers, were also involved to bring synergies to engage with Africa.