International Relations - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   India has entered into a collaboration with which country for freight rail?
- Published on 19 Jan 17

a. China
b. Japan
c. South Korea
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Japan

Explanation:
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.


2)   India and Singapore on 30th Dec 2016 signed a protocol for amending which agreement?
- Published on 02 Jan 17

a. DTAA
b. BIPPA
c. Bonn Agreement
d. FTA
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: DTAA

Explanation:
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.


3)   With which country does India hold ‘Khanjar’ series of military exercises?
- Published on 21 Dec 16

a. Tajikistan
b. Kyrgyzstan
c. Uzbekistan
d. Afghanistan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kyrgyzstan

Explanation:
India and Kyrgyzstan have signed six Memoranda of Understanding/ (MoU)Agreements including in the fields of tourism, agriculture and food industry and more.

These agreements were signed following delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi.

Signed Agreements are:

  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism
  • MoU in the field of cooperation in youth exchange.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Youth development
  • MoU on exchange of information on training programmes of diplomats.
  • Agreement on cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Food Industry.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Broadcasting and exchange of audiovisual programmes.

  • Besides, both countries started talks to conclude a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in order to augment investments flowing between the two countries as it will protect the interest of investors.

    India considers Kyrgyzstan as a valuable partner in common pursuit of making Central Asia a region of sustainable peace, stability and prosperity.

    Highlights of Joint statement issued:
  • Both countries have agreed on the need to coordinate.
  • They work closely in addressing and overcoming these challenges for the common benefit.
  • They also reviewed cooperative engagement in the field of defence.
  • Both nations sought to expand joint military exercises including the ‘Khanjar’ series of military exercises which has become an annual event.
  • They also decided to build on the development cooperation including in capacity building and training.
  • On economic ties both sides agreed to encourage engagement in Healthcare, Tourism, IT, Agriculture, Mining and Energy


4)   India has overtaken which country to become the 5th largest in terms of GDP?
- Published on 20 Dec 16

a. United States
b. China
c. United Kingdom
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: United Kingdom

Explanation:
Britain's recent Brexit problems and India's rapid economic growth, has propelled Indian nation to overtake its erstwhile colonial master United Kingdom in terms of the size of the economy - the first time after nearly 150 years.

This massive shift was driven by rapid economic growth in India over 2 and a half decades and downslide in pound value over past 12 months, according to Forbes.

Once expected to overtake the UK GDP in 2020, the growth has been accelerated by the nearly 20 per cent decline in the value of the pound over the last 12 months, consequently UK's 2016 GDP of GBP 1.87 trillion converts to $2.29 trillion at exchange rate of GBP 0.81 per $1.

India’s GDP of INR 153 trillion converts to $2.30 trillion at exchange rate of INR 66.6 per $1," the report said.

CEBR had forecasted India would be with the 5th largest GDP by 2020.

Furthermore, this gap is expected to widen as India grows at 6 to 8 per cent p.a. compared to UK's growth of 1 to 2 per cent per annum until 2020, and likely beyond.

Even if the currencies fluctuate that modify these figures to rough equality, the verdict is clear that India's economy has surpassed that of the UK based on future growth prospects, the report indicated.

India overtook UK and becomes 5th largest GDP after USA, China, Japan & Germany."

Brexit

  • Short form for British exit. Refers to United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.
  • Referendum for the same was held in June 2016.
  • 52% of votes in favour of leaving EU.
  • UK has invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on EU for withdrawing by close of March 2017.
  • Current British PM: Theresa May
  • UK joined EU in 1973.


5)   Where was the fifth edition of the India-Arab Partnership Conference held?
- Published on 19 Dec 16

a. Muscat
b. Abu Dhabi
c. Dubai
d. Riyadh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Muscat

Explanation:
The 5th edition of the India-Arab Partnership Conference concluded on 15 December 2016 in Muscat, Oman.

The two-day conference focused on devising strategies to boost economic partnership between India and Arab League.

The theme of the conference was - "Partnership towards innovation and cooperation in Information Technology."

Organised by the Oman Foreign Ministry and Arab League Secretariat in partnership with the Union Ministry of External Affairs of India, the conference deliberated on means and ways to enhance the flow of investments, accelerate the investment projects of prioritised sectors and export promotion.

Also discussed were technology, innovation, health, pharma sector, clean technology, renewable energy, food security, education, skills development and tourism sector.

500 participants of the conference include officials from the Arab League, the Indian Government, businessmen, investors and academicians.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Oman Chamber of Commerce coordinated the conference.

Other partners of the conference were Federation of Arab Businessmen (FAB) and the General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Agriculture (GUCCIA).

About the Arab League

  • Administrative centre: Cairo, Egypt.
  • Arab League comprises Arab nations in: North Africa, Horn of Africa, Arabia
  • Formed: 1945
  • Founding countries: 6
  • Membership- 22 nations
  • Role: Coordinating the foreign policies of the member states.
Member States of the league include:
  • Algeria
  • Bahrain
  • Comoros
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Iraq
  • UAE
  • Oman


6)   India and Russia have agreed to extend the range of Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles beyond which limit?
- Published on 19 Dec 16

a. 300 km
b. 400 km
c. 350 km
d. 450 km
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 300 km

Explanation:
India and Russia have agreed to extend the range of Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles beyond the current 300 km, with the country joining the elite Missile Technology Control Regime.

Proposal for undertaking joint technical development work for extending range beyond 300 km has been executed between India and Russia.
In its first entry into any multilateral export control regime, India joined the MTCR in June 2016 as a full member.

Subsequent to India joining MTCR, Russia and India have extended the range.

Brahmos is short range, ramjet supersonic cruise missile travelling at the speed of Mach 3.0.

India and Russia are planning to develop a new generation of missiles that could have the ability to hit protected targets with pinpoint accuracy.

BrahMos

  • Supersonic cruise missile.
  • Place of origin: India/Russia
  • Used by: Indian armed forces (Army, Navy and Air Force)
  • Manufacturer: BrahMos Aerospace Limited
  • Variants: Surface launched, Submarine launched and Air launched
  • Specifications: Weight around 3000kg (2500 for the air launched variant)
  • Length: 8.4m
  • Diameter: 0.6m


7)   China’s first aircraft carrier has displayed its maiden live fire exercises on a massive scale. What is it called?
- Published on 19 Dec 16

a. Liaoning
b. Xiaoning
c. Jiaoning
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Liaoning

Explanation:
China’s first aircraft carrier battle group has carried out its maiden live-fire exercises on a massive scale.

In a show of strength, following rising tensions with the US, the exercises were carried out over the South China Sea and Taiwan.

Aircraft carrier Liaoning conducted the drills with live ammunition in the Bohai sea involving dozens of ships and aircrafts as well as air-to-air, ship-to-air and air-to-ship missiles according to the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Exercise was aimed at testing combinations of numerous types and numbers of ships to optimise the carrier’s combat ability according to the Chinese Navy.
The carriers, destroyers and frigates carried out exercises covering air interception, sea based attacks and air defence along with reconnaissance, early warning and anti-missile systems.

Carrier’s original design allows it to carry a 30 fixed wing aircraft. Time and location of the exercises were not disclosed.

This marks the first time a weapon used on a carrier was displayed in public since it entered services in 2012.

Videos of the J-15 live fire exercises were publicly broadcasted for the first time, on the China Central Television.

The exercises were carried out as China stuck a more aggressive posture over the disputed South China Sea and braced to have a showdown with US President elect Donald Trump over the One China policy.

China has become more assertive over the SCS islands after an international tribunal struck down its claim over all most all of the area.

Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have counter claims over the disputed SCS.

China has also confirmed that it is building military facilities in the reclaimed islands.

Know More About Liaoning

  • Liaoning is the first aircraft commissioned into the PLA Navy Surface Force.
  • She is a training ship.
  • She carries out carrier usage.
  • Construction started: December 6, 1985
  • Launched: December 4, 1988
  • Length: 304 metres
  • Draft: 10 m
  • Beam: 38 m


8)   Who is the first Indonesian president to visit India?
- Published on 13 Dec 16

a. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
b. Joko Widodo
c. Megawati Sukarnoputri
d. Abdurrahman Wahid
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Joko Widodo

Explanation:
Indonesia and India on 12th December 2016 released a joint statement in New Delhi.

  • The statement was released after extensive talks between the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo; the latter is on a three day visit, marking the first by an Indonesian president
  • Strategic Engagement: Both the leaders agreed to hold annual summit meetings, including on the margins of multilateral events.
  • They also welcomed the submission of a Vision Document 2025 India-Indonesia Eminent Persons Group (EPG).
  • They directed the two Defence Ministers to explore collaboration between defence industries for the joint production of equipment including capacity building cooperation.
  • President Widodo welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s initiatives in the area of renewable energy, particularly the establishment of the International Solar Alliance.
  • Inking of an MoU between the Indonesian National Standardisation Agency (BSN) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on Standardisation Cooperation took place.
  • Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation on youth affairs and sports and in this regard welcomed the signing of an MOU on Cooperation in Youth Affairs and Sports.
  • Common challenges like terrorism were also discussed and cooperation for counter terrorism formulated.

  • Know Indonesia

  • Capital: Jakarta
  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah
  • Population: 249.9 million (2013) World Bank
  • Official language: Indonesian


9)   India on 8th Dec was designated as Major Defence Partner of which country?
- Published on 12 Dec 16

a. United Kingdom
b. United States
c. United Arab Emirates
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: United States

Explanation:
India on 8th Dec was formally designated as the Major Defence Partner of the United States.

This was announced in the India-US Joint statement following US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter’s visit to the capital city, Delhi.

This marks the seventh interaction between Carter and Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The designation is a status unique to India and institutionalises the progress made to facilitate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level par with that of the closest allies and partners of the United States

Designation will also ensure enduring cooperation in the future.

National Defence Authorisation Act, 2017: NDAA 2017

  • India’s Major Defence Partner Status has been part of the Amendment to this act.
  • Act was to allocate funds annually to the US military.

  • US will review requests to:

  • Export defence articles
  • Defence services
  • Related technology to India
  • This is under the Arms Export Control Act.
  • American official will be designated to ensure the success of the Framework for US-India Defence Relationship.
  • This relationship was finalised in 2015.
  • Deal will strengthen US-India Defence Trade and Technology Initiative
  • It will also strengthen the stability of the India Rapid Reaction Cell in Pentagon.


10)   India-UK conference on ease of doing business is being held where?
- Published on 09 Dec 16

a. New Delhi
b. Mumbai
c. Jaipur
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: New Delhi

Explanation:
The India-UK Conference on Ease of Doing Business has been jointly inaugurated by Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, India, Shri Ramesh Abhishek and British High Commissioner Sir Dominic Asquith, on 8th December, 2016 in New Delhi.

It will act as a springboard to propel the strategic bilateral partnership between the two countries to the next level.

The India and UK partnership on Ease of Doing Business is important because of the role that the business environment plays in encouraging trade, investment, innovation and economic growth.

This conference, following the commitments made by UK Prime Minister Ms. Theresa May and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in Nov 2016, will provide a forum for experts from both countries to share best practice – and to make the connections that will lead to further collaboration in the future.

This conference is the next step in this process, bringing together officials from state and central Government in India with UK experts.

The discussion will cover areas including

  • regulatory reform,
  • inspection reform,
  • tax administration,
  • trade facilitation,
  • electricity provision,
  • insolvency,
  • land registry and
  • standards.


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