International Relations - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   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.


2)   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.


3)   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.


4)   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.


5)   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.


6)   Which country's agreement with India marks the full transition of KKNPP power project?
- Published on 10 Apr 17

a. Russia
b. US
c. UK
d. Germany
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Russia

Explanation:
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.


7)   Which international energy body has India become a part of in March 2017?
- Published on 31 Mar 17

a. IEA Association
b. NATO
c. CTBT
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: IEA Association

Explanation:
India has become part of IEA Association that will allow the country play a more visible and influential role in the international energy landscape.

The “Activation of Association” is expected to serve as a bridge and platform for wider-ranging and deeper co-operation.

It will also promote collaboration between IEA member and Association countries in the future.

The Association status would facilitate it to participate in meetings of the standing groups, committees and working groups that constitute the IEA governance structure.

The IEA, which covers the entire spectrum of energy globally, will play an important role in India's energy security context, it said.

The Minister envisaged a greater partnership with IEA in taking forward the International Solar Alliance framework to other countries in the world.

India will pursue its key development objectives of energy access, energy security and environmental sustainability.

In this context, India has a vision of ensuring 24×7 affordable and environment friendly ‘Power for All'.
It has deeper engagement with IEA is a component of achieving this vision.

This gives India an opportunity for the country to become the voice of the developing countries.

India is world's 3rd largest consumer of energy, hence a very big market for catering the energy demands of a billion plus people.

One must realise mutual benefits for India and IEA in the global energy space.

Over 70 per cent of world's energy consumption is under the IEA umbrella which increases its relevance in global energy governance manifold.

India is moving fast to the centre-stage of Global Energy landscape, as pointed out by IEA's India Energy Outlook 2015.

IEA would look forward to increasing engagement with India in the areas like renewable energy, energy efficiency, among others.

Today, IEA is an important part of global dialogue on energy, providing research, data/statistics, analysis and recommendations on the global energy sector.

India can also richly gain from IEA's data gathering processes, survey methodologies and range of energy data, which could enable India in the near future to set up its own robust integrated database agency.

India's participation will enrich the energy efficiency and renewable sectors of IEA member and other countries.

IEA: Know More

  • Secretariat: Paris, France
  • Membership: 29 states
  • Executive Director: Fatih Birol
  • Deputy Executive Director: Paul Simons
  • Establishment: 1974
  • Website: www.iea.org


8)   Which countries agreed on redesigning Miyar Hydroelectric project?
- Published on 24 Mar 17

a. Pakistan, Bangladesh
b. India, Pakistan
c. Sri Lanka, Pakistan
d. India, Bangladesh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: India, Pakistan

Explanation:
India and Pakistan have agreed on redesigning the Miyar Hydroelectric project at the end of two-day talks of Indus Water Commissioners held in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan.

The countries also agreed that the Lower Kalnai and the Pakal Dul projects would be inspected again.

The talks between the two neighbouring countries began after 22 months when Pakistan in 2015 skipped consultations following objections on the Kishenganga and the Ratle hydroelectric projects by India.

Kishenganga is in arbitration.

Pakistan’s request for arbitration on Ratle is still pending with the World Bank, which is the guarantor of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.


9)   India and which country has signed a long term agreement for Sukhoi Su-30 MKI combat aircraft fleet?
- Published on 20 Mar 17

a. Russia
b. Siberia
c. Tanzania
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Russia

Explanation:
India and Russia have signed a long term support agreement for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet.

This covers 57,000 spares and components pertaining to aircrafts.

The agreement was signed by HAL with Russia's United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation at the first India-Russia Military Industrial Conference.

India has contracted 272 Su-30 fighter jets from Russia in numerous batches and over 230 jets.

Their serviceability rate has been an issue of concern. Serviceability rates have fallen below 50 percent and at one point, it had approved to over 60%.

Pacts provide for an upgraded schedule for delivery of spares from Russia for Su-30MKI, local manufacturing of parts and a proposed logistics hub for fighter jets in Bengaluru, Karnataka by HAL.

Pacts were signed for life cycle support and maintenance for other Russian origin platforms.

This includes MiG-29K aircraft, MI-17 choppers, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks.

A long lasting concern of India with regard to Russian origin military equipment will be addressed.

India has the 3rd largest armed forces in the world and one of the largest importers of defence equipment.

As most of the defence platforms and weapon systems are of Russian origin, maintenance and life cycle support is important from the point of view of defence preparedness.

The deal follows a Russian legislation permitting companies to enter into direct agreement with foreign companies for long term support.

Procurement of spares is a tough process as India cannot deal with Original Equipment Manufacturers directly; it has to go through intermediaries.

OEMs: Know More

  • An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a company whose goods are used as components in the products of another company.
  • It then sells the finished item to users.
  • This firm is referred to as a value-added reseller (VAR) (because by augmenting or incorporating features or services, it adds value to the original item) works closely with the OEM.
  • This customizes designs based on the VAR company's needs and specifications.


10)   Union Cabinet on 15th March 2017 approved MoU for border haats with which country?
- Published on 17 Mar 17

a. Bangladesh
b. Burma
c. Bhutan
d. Borneo
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bangladesh

Explanation:
The Union Cabinet on 15 March 2017 approved the revised Mode of Operation (MoO) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Bangladesh to establish the Border Haats on India-Bangladesh Border.

The Revised MoU and Mode of Operation will provide a legal framework for establishment and operationalisation of additional Border Haats.

These Border Haats are being created with an aim to promote the well-being of the people dwelling in the remote areas across the borders of the two countries.

Besides promoting the well-being of people who are the residents of the remote areas, these haats will help in promoting the traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets.

These measures help to improve the economic well-being of marginalised sections of society. The approval to this revised MoU and MoO was given at a Union Cabinet meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Border Haats: Know More

  • At present, four Border haats are operational between the two countries, two each in Tripura and Meghalaya.
  • These haats were established under the MoU and Mode of operation of Haats earlier signed between Bangladesh and India on 23 October 2010.
  • On 15 May 2012, an addendum to the mode of operation of Border Haats was also signed.
  • The border haats were created with an objective to boost the trade between the two countries.
  • The trade in these haats is permitted in Indian Rupees and Bangladeshi Taka as well as on barter basis. Data of such trade is managed by the Haat Management Committee of the respective haats.
  • As per reports of December 2016, the data furnished by the concerned state governments said that the cash trade was equivalent to Rs 1686.62 lakhs.
  • This transaction was carried out at the four border haats in the five-year period ending 2015-16.


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