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Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Current Affairs January 1st Week 2019

 1. India and Pakistan exchanged list of Nuclear Installations

India and Pakistan exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear installations between India and Pakistan.
The Agreement, which was signed on 31 December 1988 and entered into force on 27 January 1991 provides, inter alia, that the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the Agreement on the first of January of every calendar year. 
This is the twenty eighth consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries, the first one having taken place on 01 January 1992.
India handed over lists of 249 Pakistan civilian prisoners and 98 fishermen in India’s custody to Pakistan. Pakistan has shared lists of 54 civilian prisoners and 483 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed-to-be-Indians.
Government has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel and fishermen along with their boats. In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 17 Indian civilian prisoners and 369 Indian fishermen to India whose nationality has been confirmed. Immediate consular access has also been sought for the remaining prisoners and fishermen to facilitate their early release and repatriation.
India has also asked Pakistan to expedite response in the case of 80 Pakistan prisoners who have completed their sentences and await repatriation for want of nationality confirmation by Pakistan.
To take forward the understanding reached to address the humanitarian issues, especially with respect to elderly, women and mentally unsound prisoners, India has already shared the details of the reconstituted Joint Judicial Committee and that of the Indian medical experts team to visit Pakistan to meet the mentally unsound prisoners and asked to expedite their visit. 
Pakistan has also been requested to expedite the visit of a group of fishermen representatives to facilitate the repatriation of Indian fishing boats, presently held in Pakistan’s custody at the earliest.
 
2. India-U.S 2+2 Ministerial dialogue
 
Joint statement on the inaugural India-U.S 2+2 Ministerial dialogue: Minister of External Affairs Smt Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence Smt Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis to India on September 6, 2018 for the inaugural India-U.S. Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue. 
The next 2+2 meeting is to be held in the United States in 2019.
They welcomed the launch of the 2+2 Dialogue as a reflection of the shared commitment by Prime Minister Modi and President Trump to provide a positive, forward-looking vision for the India-U.S. strategic partnership and to promote synergy in their diplomatic and security efforts. They resolved to continue meetings in this format on an annual basis.
Celebrating over 70 years of diplomatic cooperation, the Ministers reaffirmed their view that India and the United States, as sovereign democracies founded on the values of freedom, justice, and commitment to the rule of law, must continue to lead global efforts to promote peace, prosperity, and security.
Recognizing their two countries are strategic partners, major and independent stakeholders in world affairs, the Ministers committed to work together on regional and global issues, including in bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral formats. The two sides further decided to establish secure communication between the Minister of External Affairs of India and the U.S. Secretary of State, and between the Minister of Defense of India and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, to help maintain regular high-level communication on emerging developments.
The Ministers reaffirmed the strategic importance of India’s designation as a Major Defense Partner (MDP) of the United States and committed to expand the scope of India’s MDP status and take mutually agreed upon steps to strengthen defense ties further and promote better defense and security coordination and cooperation. 
The Ministers reviewed cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, noting that the common principles for the region articulated in the India-U.S. Joint Statement of June 2017 have been further amplified by President Donald Trump at Danang, Vietnam on November 10, 2017, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Singapore at the Shangri-La Dialogue on June 1, 2018. Both sides committed to work together and in concert with other partners toward advancing   a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, based on recognition of ASEAN centrality and on respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, rule of law, good governance, free and fair trade, and freedom of navigation and overflight. Noting the importance of infrastructure andConnectivity for the Indo-Pacific region, both sides emphasized the need to work collectively with other partner countries to support transparent, responsible, and sustainable debt financing practices in infrastructure development.            
The Ministers recognized the importance and the potential for increasing bilateral trade, investment, innovation, and job creation in both countries. Both sides committed to further expanding and balancing the trade and economic partnership consistent with their leaders’ 2017 joint statement, including by facilitating trade, improving market access, and addressing issues of interest to both sides. In this regard, both sides welcomed the ongoing exchanges between the Ministry of Commerce of India and the Office of the United States Trade Representative and hoped for mutually acceptable outcomes.
 
3. Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs)/Agreements
 
As informed by University Grants Commission (UGC), a number of Joint Research Programmes (JRP) have been implemented through  Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs)/Agreements between the Government of India and the Government of other countries like USA, UK, Israel, Norway, New Zealand and Germany.
The Programmes are being implemented to provide opportunity to young Indian researchers and teachers of all disciplines to have international collaborative research training in advance techniques and technologies in emerging fields. Research scholars are also associated with the projects and participating in the exchange visits.
The extant National Policy on Education (NPE) provides for a National System of Education wherein, up to a given level, all students, irrespective of caste, creed, location or sex, have access to education.
Further, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has introduced the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), which facilitates academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and top leading Universities of the world. 
With an allocation of Rs.418 Crores, spread over a period of two years (2018-19 and 2019-20), the scheme aims to support around 600 joint research proposals and will have a major impact in providing the best international expertise to address major national problems, expose Indian academicians to the best collaborators abroad, provide Indian students an opportunity to work in the world class laboratories, develop strong bilateral relationships in research, and improve the international ranking of Indian Institutions.
The Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research have also entered into MoUs with foreign institutions for collaborative research, and faculty and student exchange programmes.
 
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Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Current Affairs January 1st Week 2019

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