International Relations - Current Affairs for January,2017

Month and Year:   
▼ India, UAE ink 14 agreements   [01-27-17]

India and the United Arab Emirates inked 14 agreements in numerous areas to boost bilateral cooperation.

This was delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in New Delhi.

The Crown Prince who is Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces is on a three-day visit.

He is chief guest of 2017 Republic Day Parade.


List of Agreements/MOUs exchanged during the State visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India




S. No.Name of Agreement/MoUDetails
1.Agreement on Comprehensive Strategic PartnershipThis is a general framework agreement which highlights the areas of bilateral cooperation identified under the comprehensive strategic partnership as agreed upon in the high level joint statements issued in the August 2015 and February 2016.
2. MoU between the Ministry of Defence of the Government of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Defence of the Government of UAE on cooperation in the field of Defence IndustryThis MoU aims to establish cooperation in the identified fields of defence manufacturing and technology, including through studies, research, development, innovation and cooperation between public and private sector institutions of the two countries. The two sides will cooperate in areas of armaments, defence industries and transfer of technology.
3. MoU on Institutional Cooperation on Maritime TransportThis MoU provides a framework for enhancing bilateral maritime trade ties through facilitating maritime transport, free transfer of monies between contracting parties and reciprocal recognition of ships’ documents.
4. MOU between the Directorate General of Shipping, Republic of India and the Federal Transport Authority- Land and Maritime in the UAE on Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency as per the provisions of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping Convention (STCW78) and amendments thereofThis MoU aims to deepen the maritime economic activities in general by establishing a framework for Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency of marine officers, engineers and crews.
5. MoU between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of the Republic of India and the Federal Transport Authority, Land and Maritime of the UAE on Bilateral Cooperation in the Road Transport and Highways SectorThis MoU aims to establish cooperation in the sectors of Highways and Road transport through sharing of technologies, systems and best practices in freight logistics, warehousing and value added services.
6. MOU on cooperation in prevention and combating of human traffickingThis MoU aims to enhance bilateral cooperation on the issue of prevention, rescue, recovery and repatriation related to human trafficking, especially of women and children expeditiously.
7. MoU for the cooperation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and innovation between the Ministry of Economy of United Arab Emirates and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoSMSME) of the Republic of IndiaThis MoU aims at promoting cooperation in MSMEs Sectors, including in joint projects, R & D and related activities.
8. MoU between the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Climate Change & Environment of UAE in agriculture and Allied sectorsThis MoU aims to develop a framework for cooperation in various agricultural fields of mutual interest, including through enhancement of cooperation in food processing and transfer of technology in cultivation methods.
9. MOU on mutual exemption of entry visa requirements to the holders of Diplomatic, special and Official PassportsThe agreement allows holders of diplomatic, special and official passports visa free travel between the two countries
10. MoU between Prasar Bharati, India and Emirates News Agency (WAM), UAE for cooperation in programme exchangeThis MoU aims to strengthen ties between Prasar Bharati and Emirates News Agency (WAM), UAE through cooperation in the field of broadcasting, mutual exchange of programmes, news and best practices.
11.MoU between the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Economy of United Arab Emirates on trade remedial measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interestThis MoU aims to enhance cooperation in the field of anti-dumping and allied duties through exchange of information, capacity-building, seminars and trainings in mutually indentified areas related to trade remedial measures.
12. Agreement on Oil Storage And Management
between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company
This agreement aims to establish a framework for the storage of crude oil by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in India and to further strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries in the field of energy.
13. MOU between National Productivity Council and Al Etihad Energy Services Co. LLCThis MOU is on Cooperation in Energy Efficiency Services.
14. MOU between National Security Council Secretariat of India & National Electronic Security Authority of the UAEThis MoU is on technology development and cooperation in cyberspace
Source: Press Information Bureau

▼ India, UAE to hold first strategic dialogue   [01-23-17]

India and the UAE held the first meeting of their strategic dialogue in New Delhi to elevate the bilateral relationship to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The meeting was co-chaired by Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs M J Akbar and MoS in Ministry of Foreign Affairs of UAE Anwar Gargash.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed several issues ranging from cooperation in the areas of trade and investments to expanding the bilateral cooperation.

Also explored were new areas under the strategic partnership.

This was in the areas of energy security and renewable energy, defence and security, electronics and IT and space.

▼ Hong Kong withdraws visa-free facility for Indians   [01-23-17]

Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China has withdrawn the visa-free facility for Indians.

Now Indians will have to complete a pre-arrival registration.

Henceforth, Indian Nationals will require Pre-arrival Registration.

Thus, Indian nationals must successfully complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transit Hong Kong if seeking to enter the region during transit.

The Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals will be implemented on January 23.

The online service for Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals is now open,.

Indians must apply before they can visit or transit the HKSAR visa-free (if seeking to enter the HKSAR during transit).

Pre-arrival registration is not required for Indian nationals in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area.

A Pre-Arrival Registration is normally valid for a six-month period or until the expiry date of the Indian passport linked to it, whichever is earlier, it said.

Till now Hong Kong has permitted Indians to enter with valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa. But the facility has been withdrawn.

Hong Kong: Know More

  • Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, and former British colony, in southeastern China.
  • Currency: Hong Kong dollar
  • Government: Multi-party system
  • Chief Executive: Leung Chun-ying
  • Chief Justice: Geoffrey Ma
  • Chief Secretary for Administration: Matthew Cheung
  • Financial Secretary: Paul Chan Mo-po

▼ India-Japan to collaborate on freight rail services   [01-19-17]

India will partner Japan for providing scheduled freight rail services between Delhi and Bengaluru.

Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has picked logistics firm Nippon Express.

It will collaborate with Indian Railways and Container Corporation of India for providing rail services.

The services will transport finished cars as well as general cargo.

The first train service will depart from Delhi for Bengaluru on January 20 and will make a return journey on January 24.

The transit time for the service is less than 70 hours on each side.

The train service would lead to additional freight volumes. It would also promote increased frequency on the route.

Presently, only one time-tabled freight train is running on the Delhi-Bengaluru route.

Nippon Express will be the first major foreign player running a time-tabled freight train for Indian railways.

Japan is also heading India’s high-speed bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Of an estimated ₹97,636 crore, 81% of the funding for the 508-km project will come in as a loan from Japan.

Further, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing assistance to the Indian Railways in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor.

JICA signed an agreement with the Indian government to provide ₹6,100 crore in loans for the Dedicated Freight Corridor Project.

▼ India and Singapore signed third protocol for amending DTAA   [01-2-17]

India and Singapore on 30th Dec 2016 signed the 3rd protocol for amending Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

This revisiting of the treaty is important as it will help the government in its efforts to eliminate black money from India.

The DTAA was signed or avoidance of double taxation as well as for prevention of fiscal evasion in relation to the taxes on income.

It will come to an effect from 1 April 2017.

It provides for source-based taxation of capital gains arising on transfer of shares in a company.

This amendment will help in curbing the revenue loss as well as in preventing double non-taxation.

It will also streamline the slow of investments.

During the two years called as transition period (from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019) the capital gains on shares will be taxed at half of normal tax rate (in source country), subject to fulfilment of conditions in Limitation of Benefits clause.

It also inserts provisions to facilitate relieving of economic double taxation in transfer pricing cases.

It enables application of domestic law and measures concerning prevention of tax avoidance or tax evasion.

However, the amendment grandfathers all investments in shares made before 1 April 2017.

The grandfathering will be subject to fulfilment of conditions in Limitation of Benefits clause as per 2005 Protocol.

The amendments are in line with India’s commitment under Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan.

Know More About BEPS

  • The OECD’s Action Plan on BEPS was published in July 2013 with a view to addressing perceived flaws in international tax rules.
  • The 40 page Action Plan was negotiated and drafted with the active participation of its member states.
  • It contained 15 separate action points or work streams, some of which were further split into specific actions or outputs.
  • The Plan was squarely focused on addressing these issues in a coordinated, comprehensive manner, and was endorsed by G20 leaders and finance ministers at their summit in St. Petersburg in September 2013.

Chronology of events
Union Cabinet has given approval for the signing of an agreement between India and Portugal for cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.
India and Portugal have signed six memorandum of understandings (MoUs) including in defence cooperation.
India and the US have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of cybersecurity.
India and the United States has signed MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to collaborate in the fields of developmental activities and aid in third world countries.
India has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sri Lanka to construct 3000 rain water harvesting systems in Rin Jaffna District at a cost of 300 million Rupees (Sri Lankan).