International Relations - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   What is the name of the 24th bilateral exercise between Indian navy and that of Republic of Singapore Navy?
- Published on 19 May 17

a. SIMBEX
b. CIMBEX
c. DIMBEX
d. IMBEX
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: SIMBEX

Explanation:
The 24th bilateral exercise involving Indian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy has commenced in South China Sea.

SIMBEX stands for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises.”

The exercise will be held from May 18, 2017 to May 24, 2017.

This edition of the bilateral exercise aims at increasing the interoperability among the two navies as well as developing a common understanding and procedures among the two navies for maritime security operations.

The major thrust of the exercise will lie on Anti-Submarine Operations (ASN), integrated operations with Surface, Air and Sub-surface Forces, Air Defence and Surface Encounter Exercises.

The exercise would be conducted into two phases-the Harbour Phase and the Sea Phase.

The Indian & Republic of Singapore Navy began participating in the bilateral exercises in 1994.

Since then the two navies share a long standing relationship with regular professional interactions that include exchange programs, staff talks and training courses.

The earlier edition of the bilateral exercise, SIMBEX-16 was held at Visakhapatnam in Bay of Bengal.


2)   Which country became the first non Arab state to recognize PLO in Palestine in 1974?
- Published on 17 May 17

a. India
b. Nepal
c. Bhutan
d. Myanmar
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: India

Explanation:
India and Palestine have signed five agreements during the 4 day visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to India.

This is Abbas’s fifth visit to India and the third state visit after his earlier visits in 2008 and 2012.

These 5 MoUs signed were on visa exemption for diplomatic passport holder, agriculture cooperation, cooperation in field of IT & Electronics, health sector and cooperation in the field of youth affairs and sports.

India has called for early resumption of talks between Palestine and Israel and hoped to see a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel.

Palestine for its part has thanked India for supporting it in various international forums. Palestine also hopes that India can play a vital role in Middle East Peace process.

The Palestinian President also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and called for regional and international efforts to fight the menace.

India is assisting developmental projects in Palestine.

It has been contributing to material & technical assistance and is building a techno Park in Ramallah at the cost of $12 million.

Both the countries also called for enhancing cultural exchanges between the two sides. India has sought Palestine’s participation in the International Yoga Day to be observed next month.

Indo-Palestine Relations

  • India and Palestine enjoy a long standing friendship.
  • In 1947, India registered its vote against he partition of Palestine at the United Nations General Assembly.
  • In 1974, India became the first Non-Arab State to recognize PLO as sole and legitimate representative of the people of Palestine.
  • In 2012, India co-sponsored a resolution that resulted in up-gradation of the status of Palestine to a “non-member state”.
  • In 2014, India voted in favour of Palestine at the UN Human Rights Council. In 2015, India supported installation of Palestinian flag at the UN Premises similar to the flags of the member states.


3)   Which country has an expanded PTA with India w.e.f 16th May 2017?
- Published on 17 May 17

a. Paraguay
b. Chile
c. Spain
d. Italy
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Chile

Explanation:
The expanded Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Chile will come into effect on 16 May 2017.

According to Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Chile was first signed on 8 March 2006, which came into force from August 2007.

The original PTA had a limited number of tariff lines wherein the two nations extended Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) on 8 March 2006 which came into force with effect from August 2007.

India’s offer list to Chile consisted of only 178 tariff lines whereas Chile’s offer list to India contained 296 tariff lines at the 8-digit level.

Later, India and Chile signed an agreement on the expansion of the India-Chile PTA on 6 September 2016, which will be implemented from 16 May 2017.

This expanded PTA was approved by the Union Cabinet in April 2016. Under this trade agreement, both the countries have offered to lower or eliminate duties on a number of items traded with each other.

Chile has offered duty concessions on about 1798 goods including agri-items, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, iron and steel items, to Indian exporters as compared to 178 items earlier.

The tariff lines with Margin of Preference (MoP) offered by Chile will range from 30 per cent -100 per cent.

India has offered concessions to Chile on 1031 products including vegetable oil, processed food, pharma, plastic and pearls as against 296 earlier. Around 96 per cent of the total bilateral trade has now been covered by this agreement.

The expanded PTA would immensely benefit both sides as a wide array of concessions has been offered by the two countries on a number of products which will facilitate more trade.

The tariff lines with Margin of Preference (MoP) offered by India will range from 10 per cent-100 per cent.

These tariff lines were based on HS 2012 when the negotiations had been concluded.

With the implementation of the HS 2017 Nomenclature with effect from 1 January 2017, both sides have aligned their Annexes on India’s Schedule of Tariff Concessions, Chile’s Schedule of Tariff Concessions and the Schedule on Rules of Origin as per HS 2017 Nomenclature for the issue of Notification.

This would facilitate exporters of both sides to take the advantage of tariff concessions as per the expanded PTA immediately which covers around 96 per cent of bilateral trade.


4)   Where is the 29th India Indonesia CORPAT war exercise being held?
- Published on 10 May 17

a. Lakshadweep
b. Port Blair
c. Daman
d. Diu
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Port Blair

Explanation:
The 29th India–Indonesia CORPAT has commenced at Port Blair under the aegis of Andaman and Nicobar Command. The bilateral exercise is scheduled to be held from 9th– 25th May.

The Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Sutedi Senoputra has arrived to take part in the 29th series of IND–INDO CORPAT.

An Indonesian Maritime Patrol Aircraft has also arrived with the Indonesian Naval delegation.

Defence relations between India and Indonesia are growing steadily with regular joint activities and interactions between the Armed Forces of the two countries.

The bilateral exercise aims to enhance mutual understanding and inter–operability between the two navies.

CORPAT is a bilateral maritime exercise held between India and Indonesia under the broad ambit of strategic partnership.

Both countries have been carrying out maritime exercise twice a year from 2002.

As per the exercise, search and rescue operations are carried out and the two navies institute measures for vessels indulged in unlawful activities as well as control pollution.

The basic aim of CORPAT is to keep the vital part of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) safe and secure for commercial shipping, International trade and legitimate marine activities.

CORPAT has helped to boost understanding and interoperability between the two navies and also has promoted maritime security in the region.

Indonesia: Know More

  • Capital and largest city: Jakarta
  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah
  • President: Joko Widodo


5)   India has signed an agreement with which country on 26th April in science and technology?
- Published on 27 Apr 17

a. Siberia
b. Tanzania
c. Armenia
d. Kazakhstan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Armenia

Explanation:
India will help Armenia to build satellite and remote sensing data matters and train Armenian scientists as both the countries today signed three agreements to boost bilateral cooperation.

The two sides stressed that there cannot be double speak on the issue of terrorism. During the talks, Ansari stressed that there cannot be bad or good terrorism.

The two sides acknowledged that there cannot be double standard on terrorism and the international community should speak in one voice against the menace.

The 2 countries also agreed to liberalise the visa regime issue to improve people-to-people contact, she added.

Both the sides also agreed to enhance cooperation in the agricultural sector and a joint working group will meet soon to finalise the broader outline, she said.

They also agreed to enhance space cooperation in which satellite, remote sensing data matters, training of scientists are important aspects. India will help Armenia in this sector, she said.

The two countries also agreed to enhance cooperation in the broadcasting and film sector especially Bollywood.

India had helped Armenia in many fields including establishing a centre of excellence, Param super computer besides setting up a number of computer labs in schools. IT and machine making is an important area of thrust for both the sides and a possibility of a joint venture will be worked out.


6)   Which country did India ink a pact with to upgrade railways?
- Published on 17 Apr 17

a. Australia
b. Denmark
c. France
d. New Zealand
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: France

Explanation:
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.


7)   What does IC-IMPACTS stand for, in the context of Indo Canadian scientific collaboration?
- Published on 13 Apr 17

a. India-Canada Centre for Innovation Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability
b. India-Canada Centre for Invention Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability
c. India-Canada Centre for Innovating Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability
d. India-Canada Centre for Innovated Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: India-Canada Centre for Innovation Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability

Explanation:
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.


8)   India and which country signed 6 agreements on April 10, 2017 to boost bilateral cooperation?
- Published on 12 Apr 17

a. Australia
b. Pakistan
c. Malaysia
d. Bangladesh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Australia

Explanation:
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.


9)   How many deals were signed on 8th April 2017 between Bangladesh and India, marking a “Golden Era” in bilateral relations?
- Published on 10 Apr 17

a. 20
b. 21
c. 22
d. 23
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 22

Explanation:
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.


10)   Which Dialogue's inaugural version was chaired in New Delhi between India and the UK, in April 2017?
- Published on 10 Apr 17

a. Energy for Growth
b. Energy for Power
c. Energy for People
d. Energy for Sustenance
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Energy for Growth

Explanation:
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.


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