SAARC - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Pakistan on March 1st saw its diplomat ________ elected as SAARC Secretary General.

a. Ali Hussein B.Sial
b. Amjad Hussain B. Sial
c. Amjad Hussein B. Sial
d. Atlaf Hussein B. Sial
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Amjad Hussein B. Sial

Explanation:
In a first, Pakistan on March 1, 2017 succeeded in getting an official elected to the post of Secretary General for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

Pakistan was backed by all members including India. The selection was consensus based.

Election is of administrative nature only. Pakistan will provide the next secretary general making a smooth transition from Nepal to Pakistan.

The new SAARC chief is a veteran diplomat and has been waiting to take charge since March 2016.

Sial was elected as Pakistan and India both want SAARC to function efficiently.

Following the terrorist attack in Uri, India had opposed the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in Nov 2016.

India had sent delegates including the Joint Secretary in charge of SAARC for meeting SAARC reps in February to finalise the issue of budget and admin matters.

Sial has assumed charge of the office of Secretary General of SAARC from March 1, 2017, according to a press release issued by SAARC Secretariat here.

He has succeeded Nepal's Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who was appointed the Secretary-General in 2014.

The Pakistani turn, which is held by rotation, starts from March 1, 2017, and continues till February 28, 2020.

About Amjad Hussein B. Sial: Know More

  • Sial's nomination was made by Pakistan at the SAARC Council of Ministers in Pokhara, Nepal, in March 2016 and was endorsed by all member states.
  • He is a seasoned diplomat from Pakistan Foreign Service with over 33 years of career in the diplomatic field.
  • Before joining the SAARC Secretariat Sial was Special Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
  • He has a rich experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy both at Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad and Missions abroad.
  • Sial had served as Pakistan's ambassador to Tajikistan and permanent representative at Pakistan Mission to the UN.SAARC is an eight-member regional grouping that comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


2)   Which countries have pulled out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad in Nov 2016?

a. Bangladesh
b. Bhutan
c. India
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Explanation:
Apart from India, Bangladesh and Bhutan have also pulled out of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November, saying the environment is not right for the successful holding of the meet.

  • The decision was conveyed by Bangladesh and Bhutan on 27th Sept to the Saarc chair Nepal, sources said
  • The decision by three countries of the eight-member grouping not to attend the summit would lead to its collapse.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the same day also decided not to attend the SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November.
  • The announcement by India came on a day foreign secretary S Jaishankar issued a second demarche to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit over September 18 Uri attack and confronted him with proof of "cross-border origins" of the terror strike in which 18 jawans were killed.
  • The attack has triggered a strong response from India which has reviewed the 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty (IWT), and decide to reconsider the MFN status granted by it, unilaterally, to Pakistan.


3)   India signed a ASA with which nation on 7th Sept 2016?

a. Greece
b. Russia
c. Poland
d. Slovakia
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Greece

Explanation:
India on 7th Sept 2016 signed the bilateral air services agreement with Greece to permit unlimited points of call for domestic airlines in Greece.
Both countries have signed MoU in this regard under the Open Sky Policy

  • This will be the first ASA with Greece known for its beauty and tourist sports
  • Indian government has signed the MoU with the country under the provisions of the new Civil Aviation Policy
  • The aim is to improve international air connectivity for Indian carriers
  • Indian government has signed the MoU with Greece under the provisions entering into a reciprocal Open Sky Air Services Agreement on reciprocal basis with SAARC nations and countries with territory located beyond 5000 km radius from Delhi


4)   SAARCSTAT member nations met at which city for its 8th meeting of its heads?

a. Jaipur
b. New Delhi
c. Chandigarh
d. Shillong
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: New Delhi

Explanation:
SAARC member states convened to achieve essential ingredients for decision making and policy planners at the SAARCSTAT 8th meeting of heads.

  • The meeting was held in New Delhi
  • Emphasis was on greater regional cooperation for mutual development, to accelerate free trade in goods and services in the Region.
  • It is essential to put into operation simplified and transparent rules of origin; implementation of trade facilitation measures; harmonisation of standards relating to Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures; harmony, streamlined and simplified Custom procedures; elimination of non-tariff and para-tariff barriers;
  • Also discussed were policy initiatives for comparable statistics and smooth & efficient transit and transport facilities, which will provide an opportunity to the SAARC Members countries to review the implementation of the recommendations made in International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) 2010 and Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (MSITS) 2010 and help in better understanding of the existing economic statistics frameworks and guidelines such as the System of National Accounts (2008 SNA), Balance of Payments (BPM6) and the Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics.
  • Reducing asymmetry in states data was also a goal.


5)   7th meeting of which country grouping’s immigration authorities was held on 2nd August 2016 in Pakistan?

a. SAARC
b. ASEAN
c. OPEC
d. EU
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: SAARC

Explanation:
Seventh meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Immigration Authorities was on 2nd August 2016 held in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.

  • The meeting was chaired by Pakistan’s DG Immigration and Passports, Usman Bajwa.
  • The meeting reviewed different areas to capitalise on visa exemption scheme launched by member countries in the 1990s
  • It also planned on development of security software for SAARC Visa exemption scheme and immigration matters.


6)   Who is the Cisco MD of sales for India and SAARC who has resigned after 7 years with the organisation?

a. Purushottam Das
b. Purushottam Bhatia
c. Purushottam Kaushik
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Purushottam Kaushik

Explanation:
CISCO MD of sales for India and SAARC region, Purushottam Kaushik resigned from the networking major after having worked there for 7 years.

  • He may join Juniper Networks whose India head recently quit.
  • He also created and managed a USD 2 billion business centred around smart cities, IoT, public safety and surveillance and Digital India initiatives.


7)   National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 holds that an Open Sky Air Service Agreement will be formed with which countries?

a. ASEAN
b. SAARC
c. BRICS
d. OPEC
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: SAARC

Explanation:
As per the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, Government of India will enter into an Open Sky Air Service Agreement on a reciprocal basis with SAARC nations and countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5000 km radius.

  • Unlimited flights above the existing bilateral rights will be permitted directly to and from major airports as notified by the Government.
  • Points of call at all other airports will be honoured till these are renegotiated.


8)   Which 3rd century BC archaeological site in Bangladesh was declared as SAARC cultural capital?

a. Mahasthangarh
b. Devgarh
c. Ramgarh
d. Bogra
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Mahasthangarh

Explanation:
Mahasthangarh, a 3rd century BC archaeological site in Bangladesh close to 11 km north of Bogra has been declared the SAARC cultural capital for 2016-2017

  • It will host cultural festivals from 2016 to 2017 as a result of this
  • This is one of the earliest sites discovered for urban archaeology in Bangladesh
  • 2016-2017 has been declared the SAARC year of cultural heritage
  • It was the ancient capital of Pundravardhana i.e. home of the Pundra, a group of people not speaking languages of the Indo-European family.


9)   31st Charter Day of the 8 member grouping SAARC was observed on which day in Nepal?

a. 7th December
b. 8th December
c. 9th December
d. 10th December
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 8th December

Explanation:
The 31st Charter Day of the eight-member grouping SAARC was observed in Nepal on 8th December which saw participation of senior ministers and officials. SAARC was set up on December 8th 1985 between the following states-Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka signed the SAARC Charter. SAARC witnessed 18 summit meetings so far.


10)   Current geo-climatic conditions and increased frequency of natural calamities have necessitated the first ____________ to provide a platform for strengthening Regional Disaster Response Mechanism among SAARC nations.

a. South Asian Yearly Disaster Management Exercise
b. South Asian Annual Disaster Management Plan
c. South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise

Explanation:
The first South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise 2015 is being held for strengthening Regional Disaster Response mechanism among SAAARC nations for testing coordination efforts and creating synergy as well as synchronising efforts for institutionalisation of Regional Cooperation on Disaster Response among member countries.


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