International Relations - Current Affairs for April,2017

Month and Year:   
▼ France, India ink Railways Pact   [04-17-17]

The French Minister of State for Transport, Marine Affairs and Fisheries Alain Vidalies signed an agreement with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

This is for collaboration in areas such as high-speed and semi-high speed rail, modernisation of current operations and infrastructure, station renovation and operations, suburban trains and safety systems, operations and security.

On semi-high-speed, the parties had decided in 2015 to carry out a technical and execution study for upgrading the speed of passengers trains on the current rail corridor between Delhi and Chandigarh (244 km) up to 200 kmph.

Important Facts: France

  • France PM is Bernard Cazeneuve
  • The capital of France is Paris and its Currency is Euro
  • French Minister of State for Transport is Alain Vidalies.

▼ Indo Canada science agreement inked   [04-13-17]

The Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology are collaborating with The India-Canada Centre for Innovation Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS).

The agreement is to promote multidisciplinary research partnerships.

Five projects addressing the issue of Clean Water Technologies are being implemented by the Departments at the total cost of INR. 572 lakhs with matched funding from Canada.

The following technologies are being developed and envisaged as outcomes

  • Biosensors for detection of toxins:- impedance-based handheld biosensors for assessment of the water quality and a nanoparticle based water treatment system to eliminate toxins and microorganisms in water.
  • Toxins which will be detected are cyanotoxin (microcystins, anatoxins) and microorganisms (Enterococcus, Salmonella, Staphylococcus).
  • Heavy metal detection and removal :Plastic cartridges for colour based test monitoring kit for detection of multiplex heavy metal. Developing fixed bed biochar columns to remove heavy metals from waste water
  • Biorecovery from waste water ( waste to wealth) :- Integrated pilot-scale 915 MHz MW-AOP for advanced anaerobic digestion system for resource recovery
  • Survey to identify and explore alternatives in domestic water management:- technology and financial appropriateness of water and wastewater infrastructure in selected cities of India
These technologies will be implemented in India following feasibility studies.

▼ India, Australia ink 6 agreements   [04-12-17]

India and Australia on 10 April 2017 signed six agreements to boost the bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

The signed agreements include cooperation in combating international terrorism and transnational organised crime.

These agreements were signed during Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull’s four-day visit to India. He will be in India from 9 April to 12 April 2017.

This is Turnbull’s first visit to India since he assumed office in 2015.

The six agreements which were exchanged during Prime Minister Turnbull’s visit to India includes:

MoU on cooperation in combatting international terrorism and transnational organised crime.

MoU for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.

MoU on cooperation in the field of environment, climate and wildlife.

MoU on cooperation in sports.

MoU on cooperation in the field of health and medicine. Implementation arrangement between ISRO and Geoscience Australia on cooperation in earth observation and satellite navigation

These agreements were inked after the two sides held comprehensive discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern.

The two nations also agreed to repeat a bilateral maritime exercise which was first held in the Bay of Bengal in 2015.

It will be repeated in Western Australia in the first half of 2018.

They also welcomed a decision of holding the first bilateral

Army-to-Army exercise, which will take place in 2018.

Besides, the much awaited free-trade agreement remained elusive during the visit of PM Turnbull. The two sides failed to conclude negotiations for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

Australia has also decided to join the International Solar Alliance put together at PM Modi’s initiative.

The two leaders also remotely inaugurated a Nano-technology research centre which was jointly established by TERI Institute and the Deakin University of Australia.

▼ Indo-Bangla ties in “golden era”   [04-10-17]

Bangladesh and India have signed 22 deals, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi heralding a “golden era” in bilateral relations.

22 agreements: Key MoUs

  • Under a line of concessional credit for the third time, India will lend Bangladesh $4.5 billion, bringing its funding for Bangladesh to more than $8 billion over the past six years.
  • Both countries inked a pact on the defence cooperation framework apart from signing an agreement for extending a $500 million line of credit for military supplies.
  • An agreement between Defence Services Staff College in Tamil Nadu and Defence Services Command and Staff College in Dhaka was signed on cooperation in strategic and operational studies.
  • A deal between National Defence College in Dhaka and National Defence College in New Delhi was signed for enhancing cooperation in national security, development and strategic studies.
  • Both countries agreed on a financing agreement for the construction of 36 community clinics in Bangladesh.
  • An agreement between both countries on establishing border markets across the border was signed.
  • The countries agreed to cooperate in the judicial sector. The National Judicial Academy in India and the Supreme Court of Bangladesh inked a pact on training and capacity building programme for Bangladeshi judicial officers in India.
  • The countries agreed to cooperate for the peaceful use of nuclear energy apart from reaching an arrangement between the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board India and Bangladesh.
  • The countries also agreed on an inter-agency agreement between Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, India and Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission on cooperation in nuclear power plant projects in Bangladesh.
  • During the meeting, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team and Bangladesh Government Computer Incident Response Team agreed to cooperate in cyber security.
  • India will supply an additional 60 megawatts of power to Bangladesh.
  • An MoU on development of fairway from Sirajganj to Daikhowa and Ashuganj to Zakiganj on Indo-Bangladesh protocol route between the Indian Shipping Ministry and Bangladesh Shipping Ministry was signed.
  • Both the countries also signed a deal on passenger and cruise services on the coastal and protocol route.
  • The Geological Survey of India and the Geological Survey of Bangladesh also agreed on mutual scientific cooperation in the field of earth sciences for research and development among others.
  • Other deals include an agreement on cooperation in the mass media and audio-visual co-production.
Other Developments
  • Bangladesh and India launched bus services on Kolkata-Khulna-Dhaka route and rail services on Khulna-Kolkata and Radhikapur-Birol route.
  • Modi promised an early solution to the contentious Teesta issue.
  • Bangladesh wins India’s support for the proposed International Genocide Day to be observed on Mar 25.
  • As a mark of India's respect to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina's father, a prominent road in Delhi has been named after him.
  • The prime ministers of the two countries jointly launched the Hindi version of ‘The Unfinished Memoirs' of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’.
Twenty-two agreements were therefore signed in the area of defence, nuclear energy, cyber security and media.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of only four pacts – on the judicial sector, a $4.5 billion development assistance line of credit, on outer space and on passenger and cruise services.

In addition, India has offered a new $500 million line of credit specifically for defence purchases.

PM Modi announced that both countries will jointly produce a biopic on Sheikh Mujib, which will be released in 2020 on his birth centenary.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee then joined the two prime ministers to launch three new transport links from West Bengal to Bangladesh.

▼ India-UK Energy for Growth Dialogue   [04-10-17]

Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal, and UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Mr. Greg Clark, chaired the inaugural India-UK ‘Energy for Growth’ Dialogue.


The dialogue takes forward the commitment of Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of UK, Ms. Theresa May for an enhanced ‘Energy for Growth’ Partnership between the two countries.

Both Shri Goyal and Mr. Clark welcomed UK’s ongoing commitment to India’s energy sector.

On 4th April 2017 the two countries had reaffirmed their commitment to anchor investment up to £120 million each in the joint fund which aims to raise around £500 million, and has the potential to unlock much more in the future.

It was announced that the fund will focus its initial investments on India’s rapidly growing energy and renewables market.

India and UK also recognised the importance of combating climate change and mobilising finance from a variety of sources, instruments and channels to mitigate its effects alongside generating economic opportunities.

They welcomed the work of the G20 Green Finance Study Group promoting green finance encouraged the issuance of green bonds, among other forms of green finance.

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has established operations in UK by investing around £7 million in seven energy saving projects after intense technical and financial due diligence.

The projects are in operation for more than two years and have been yielding dividends.

The scheme of (UJALA-Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LED’s for All) of India will also be applied in the UK.


India-UK investment: Know More

  • India and UK share a strong investment and financial partnership, wherein UK is the third largest FDI investor in India and India is the third largest source of FDI projects in the UK.
  • The India-UK Partnership Fund set up under National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has made substantial progress.
  • The successful issuance of Rupee-denominated bonds in London by Indian entities is encouraging and is reflective of the potential of our financial partnership.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Energy Sector, was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the UK in November 2015.
The agreed areas include:

- Innovation in smart technology to improve performance and reduce losses in India’s power sector; -Support for increased energy efficiency;
- Enhanced energy access;
- Work to accelerate deployment of renewable energy and its integration with the grid;
- Financing for clean energy; decentralized energy scale up and sustainability; and
- Support to states in renewable energy planning and deployment.

▼ India, Russia sign KKNPP agreement   [04-10-17]

India has signed a joint statement with Russia takeover full operational control of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP).

It formally marks the full transition.

The agreement was signed between representatives of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the ASE Group of Companies, a subsidiary of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation of Russia.

With the deal, the Russian and Indian sides have confirmed fulfilment of all warranty terms and obligations of the contractor (ASE Group of Companies) for the construction of Unit 1.

The warranty period run showed reliable and safe operation of Unit 1.

NPCIL has confirmed that ASE Group of Companies, which is a general contractor, has fulfilled all its tasks in full and accurately.

The commercial operation and the warranty period of Unit 1 of KKNPP had started in December 2014.

The warranty was typically for one year, which ended in December 2015.

However, the final takeover agreement was delayed to ensure the reliability of the plant and equipment as Unit I was the first of a series of six reactors.

Earlier, in March 2017, both countries had signed joint protocol on provisional acceptance of Unit 2 of the plant, which marked the start of its commercial operation.

KKNPP: Know More

  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is the single largest nuclear power station in India.
  • It is situated in Kudankulam in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
  • It is scheduled to have six VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW of electricity.
  • It has been built in collaboration with Atomstroyexport, the Russian state company and NPCIL. Unit 1 of the plant was synchronised with the southern power grid in October 2013.
  • It is generating electricity to its warranted limit of 1000 MW.
  • Unit 2 with capacity 1,000 MW had achieved first criticality in July 2016.
  • It was grid-connected in August 2016 and its commercial operation started in October 2016.
  • The ground-breaking ceremony for construction of units 3 & 4 was performed in February 2016.
  • The power generated from the plant will provide electricity to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and Karnataka.

Chronology of events
India and Malaysia have signed seven agreements, including in the areas of civil aviation and human resources development, following delegation-level bilateral talks headed by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Najib Razak.
Twelfth iteration of Indo - Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant is presently underway at Vairengte from 05 April 2017 till 18 April 2017.
India and Australia have inked six pacts including one aimed at boosting counter-terrorism cooperation after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in New Delhi. The two leaders held comprehensive discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern.
The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the protocol amending the convention between India and Portugal for avoidance of double taxation.