International Relations - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

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1)   India and Kazakhstan have agreed to deepen ties in which sector on Sept 20, 2017?
- Published on 21 Sep 17

a. Oil and gas
b. Manufacturing
c. Transport
d. Both a and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and c

Explanation:
India and Kazakhstan discussed deepening cooperation in oil and gas sector as well as expanding the International North-South Transport Corridor by linking it to the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan-led a delegation to Astana for the India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC), which is co-chaired by Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev.

During the meeting, the two discussed ideas for stepping up the cooperation in energy sector, trade, economic, investment, transport and connectivity, agriculture, information technology, space, healthcare and cultural spheres between the two countries.

The two sides discussed the possibilities of expanding cooperation in exploration and production of hydrocarbons and investments in infrastructure projects in oil and gas sector.

ONGC Videsh Ltd owns a 25 per cent stake in the Satpayev oilfield in the Caspian Sea.

In the nuclear energy sector, the two sides agreed to work on application of nuclear science in the areas of health and agriculture.

They explored possibility of expanding the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) by linking it to the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link.

Kazakhstan is strategically located between Europe and Asia and offers enormous business opportunities for investments.

The country is rich in mineral resources, such as uranium, oil and natural gas.

Both leaders agreed to collaborate in the oil and gas sector for mutual benefit and further strengthen the engagement by addressing issues of concerns to Indian investors, particularly in Kazakh hydrocarbon sector.

Bozumbayev invited Indian investments in various sectors particularly in the hydrocarbon sector, infrastructure, peaceful use of nuclear energy, co-production of films, cooperation in food processing and Information Technology.

Both sides exchanged lists containing priority export items.

INSTC: Know More

  • INSTC is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail and road route for moving freight between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
  • The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road.
  • India and Kazakh also agreed to develop and deepen bilateral relations in the field of agriculture, mining and civil aviation sector.


2)   Name the first tri-service war games held between India and Russia?
- Published on 15 Sep 17

a. Indra
b. Dhanush
c. Nag
d. Sankalp
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Indra

Explanation:
In the first such tri-Service wargames, India will hold a major combat exercise with Russia this year to crank up military-to-military ties between the two long-standing strategic partners.

The Indra exercise, to be held in Russia, will include assets and manpower from the Army, Navy and IAF.

This is the first time India will deploy the three services together for an exercise with a country.

Though Russia has been India's largest defence supplier for long, notching up military sales worth over $50 billion since the 1960s, their armed forces do not exercise much together.

In sharp contrast, India and US hold a flurry of exercises every year, ranging from the top-notch naval Malabar wargames (with Japan now a regular participant) to the counter-terror Vajra Prahar & Yudh Abhyas Ines between their armies.

The US has also bagged Indian arms contracts worth $15 billion since 2007, even overtaking Russia in annual sales over the last four years.

But India and Russia have now resolved to expand their military-to-military ties. "The first initial planning conference has already been held with Russia to discuss the exercise scenario, assets and manpower for the tri-Service Indra.

Two more such conferences will be held soon to finalise everything.

While Indian and Russian armies and navies have been separately holding their Indra exercises off-and-on for the last few years, the first-ever bilateral air combat exercise "Avia Indra" was held in the Astrakhan region, near the Caspian Sea, in 2014.

India has also inked pacts with Russia to acquire five S-400 Triumf advanced air defence missile systems, four Grigorivich-class frigates and 200 Kamov-226T light helicopters, while also sealing the lease of a second nuclear-powered submarine after INS Chakra, all together worth around $10.5 billion.


3)   Delhi is seeking to connect Chennai to which Russian city in direct challenge to OBOR?
- Published on 15 Sep 17

a. Stalingrad
b. Leningrad
c. Moscow
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Explanation:
Aiming to put in place a key maritime route connecting India with Northeast Asia and Western Pacific region Delhi is contemplating to put in place a major connectivity initiative - direct shipping link between Chennai and Vladivostok amid China’s ambitious Maritime Silk Route (MSR) connecting Asia with Africa.

With India making concrete moves to expand its presence in Far East Russia to harness natural resources as evident through Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Vladivostok last week plans are in making for a maritime link connecting Chennai with the key Russian port on the Pacific.

This shipping link would enable to transfer cargo between Chennai and Vladivostok in 24 days in comparison to over 40 days currently taken to transport goods from India to Far East Russia via Europe.

This proposed maritime route which could be transformed into a corridor could juxtapose with Indo-Japan Pacific to Indian Ocean Corridor amid Beijing’s OBOR of which MSR is a part – virtually connecting entire SE Asia through road, shipping and rail links.

Additionally, there will be a Russia Desk for facilitating Russian investments into India as assured by PM Narendra Modi during the annual summit in St Petersburg in June.

This is the 3rd such Desk in India after Japan and Korea. Russia Desk would provide complete support service for any kind of Russian investment/ Businessmen/ from legislative to taxation; from personnel to finding right partner, according to informed officials.

Vladivostok: Know More

  • The Far Eastern Federal District (twice the size of India) is the largest but the least populated of the eight federal districts of Russia, with a population of roughly 6.3 million.
  • India was the first country to establish a resident Consulate in Vladivostok in 1992.
  • Current engagement of India with the region is limited to isolated pockets such as the Irkut Corporation in Irkutsk where the Mig and Sukhoi aircraft are built and over USD 6 billion worth of investments by ONGC Visesh Limited in the Sakhalin 1 project.
  • The region has a wealth of natural resources such as land, timber, mineral and other resources like tin, gold, diamonds and oil and natural gas.
  • The Russian government has announced several initiatives to attract investments in the region, including an agricultural SEZ, the Vladivostok Free Port Project and also invites participation in the timber industry , mining of the huge mineral resources (coal & diamonds) and precious metal deposits (gold, platinum, tin and tungsten).
  • Opportunities for collaboration for Indian companies include in such sectors as agriculture, mining, port development and infrastructure, diamond processing, agro-processing.


4)   Which of the following MoUs/agreements were signed between Japan and India?
- Published on 15 Sep 17

a. Disaster risk management
b. Skills connectivity
c. Connectivity
d. Only a and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Explanation:
List of MoUs/Agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister of Japan to India (September 14, 2017)

A. Disaster Risk Management

S. No.MemorandumsDescription
1MOC between the Ministry of Home Affairs, of the Government of the Republic of India and the Cabinet Office of the Government of JapanAims to cooperate and collaborate in the field of disaster risk reduction and to share the experiences, knowledge and policies on disaster prevention.
B. Skills Development
S. No.MemorandumsDescription
2MoC in the field of Japanese Language Education in India between MEA and MOFA, JapanTo further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in the field of Japanese language education in India
C. Connectivity
S. No.MemorandumsDescription
3India Japan Act East ForumTo enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects in the North Eastern Region of India in an efficient and effective manner

D. Economic & Commercial
S. No.MemorandumsDescription
4Arrangement between India Post and Japan Post on Administrative Instruction for the Implementation of Cool EMS serviceAims at implementing the commercial arrangement of "Cool EMS” service between the Japan Post and India Post through which fresh food can be sent from Japan to India in cool boxes to facilitate for the Japanese expatriates in India
E. Investment (Gujarat)
S. No.MemorandumsDescription
5India-Japan Investment Promotion Road map between DIPP and METITo facilitate and accelerate the Japanese investments in India
6MOC between METI and the State of Gujarat on ‘Japan-India special programme for Make In India’ in Mandal Bechraj-Khoraj in GujaratTo Cooperate in infrastructure development programmes in theMandal Bechraj-Khorajregion
F. Civil Aviation
S. No.MemorandumsDescription
7Exchange of RoD on Civil Aviation Cooperation (Open Sky)It opens skies between India and Japan i.e. Indian and Japanese carriers can mount now unlimited number of flights to the selected cities of each other’s countries.
G. Science & Technology
S. No.MemorandumsDescription
8Agreement for International joint exchange programme between interdisciplinary theoretical and mathematical sciences programme (iTHEMS), RIKEN and National Centres for Biological Sciences (Simons-NCBS)To establish a Joint Exchange Program to identify and foster talented young scientists from both the countries to collaborate in the field of theoretical biology
9Joint Research Contract between National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST), Japan and Department of Biotechnology (DBT)To conduct joint research and to establish an International Center named as "DBT-AISTInternational Centre for Translational & Environmental Research (DAICENTER)” at AIST, Japan in order to promote science and technology in both the institutions and countries.
10MOU Between DBT and National Institute of Advanced Science & Technology (AIST)To promote research collaboration between DBT Research Institutes and AIST in the field of Life Science and Biotechnology
H. Sports
S. No.MemorandumsDescription
11MoU on International Academic and Sports Exchange between Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE)and Nippon Sports Science University, Japan (NSSU)To facilitate and deepen international education cooperation and exchanges betweenLakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, India and Nippon Sport Science University, Japan
12MoU on International Academic and Sports Exchange between Sports Authority of India and Nippon Sports Science University, Japan (NSSU)To facilitate and deepen international education cooperation and exchanges between both Sports Authority of India and Nippon Sport Science University , Japan
13LETTER OF INTENT between Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE) and University of Tsukuba, JapanTo strengthen strategic collaboration, joint research programme and exchanges betweenLakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education, India and University of Tsukuba, Japan
14LETTER OF INTENT between Sports Authority of India and University of Tsukuba, JapanTo strengthen strategic collaboration, joint research programme and exchanges betweenUniversity of Tsukuba, Japan and Sports Authority of India
I. Academics/Think Tank
S. No.MemorandumsDescription
15MoU between RIS and IDE-JETRO for promotion of Cooperation in Research Related ActivitiesTo promote institutional cooperation between RIS and IDE-JETRO to strengthen the capacity of research and effectiveness of dissemination of research findings


5)   What gifts did PM Modi confer to the President of Myanmar during his maiden bilateral visit?
- Published on 06 Sep 17

a. Sculpture of the Bodhi tree
b. Reproduction of an 1841 map of the stretch of River Salween
c. Pashmina silk shawl
d. Only a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a and b

Explanation:
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on Sept 5, 2017 presented a reproduction of an 1841 map of a stretch of the River Salween to President of Myanmar H.E. Mr. U Htin Kyaw.

Prime Minister also presented a sculpture of Bodhi tree to the Myanmar President.

This is the PM's maiden bilateral visit to the country.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to meet Myanmar President Htin Kyaw, who shall host a banquet for the Indian PM.

Modi will be meeting Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese State Counsellor and will likely discuss issues pertaining to security and counter-terrorism, trade and investment, infrastructure and energy, and culture.


6)   India and Nepal began the joint military exercise called ________.
- Published on 06 Sep 17

a. Surya Kiran
b. Jyoti Kiran
c. Pushpa Kiran
d. Rupa Kiran
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Surya Kiran

Explanation:
India and Nepal on Sept 5, 2017 began their joint military exercise in the western part of the Himalayan country.

This is focusing on counter-terrorism and forest fighting operations.

The exercise - Surya Kiran - was being participated by around 300 troops each side in Rupandehi district.

Senior Nepal Army officer Rajendra Karki inaugurated the exercise.

The 12th edition of Nepal-India joint military exercise will conclude on September 16.

Surya Kiran is the largest joint exercise in terms of troop participation.

The battalion-level joint training between the two armies will focus on counter-terror operations in mountainous terrain by facilitating interoperability.

Disaster management and joint operations for disaster relief will also be a part of the exercise.

The 11th edition of the joint exercise was held in Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand.

The Nepal Army said the joint exercise will provide the two armies a platform to exchange experiences, ideas and skills.

Surya Kiran series of exercises are held alternately in India and Nepal.


7)   India and which country signed an MoU to restore damaged pagodas at Bagan?
- Published on 01 Sep 17

a. Myanmar
b. Vietnam
c. China
d. Japan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Myanmar

Explanation:
India and Myanmar are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan.

This is during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Myanmar next week.

The cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar for the conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan, Myanmar.

Began is a renowned tourist attraction of Myanmar.

India’s role in rebuilding damaged pagodas at Began will be an opportunity to showcase India’s expertise in the restoration and conservation of monuments not only to the people of Myanmar but also tourists from other countries.

The MoU will be signed during the visit of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar on September 6-7, 2017.

This will further strengthen India’s enduring ties with Myanmar, in culture and religion.

Prime Minister’s visit will generate immense goodwill for India among the people of Myanmar due to the religious significance as well as the touristic significance of the project.


8)   India and which country have issued a commemorative set of postage stamps on upcoming Diwali festival in Sept 2017?
- Published on 31 Aug 17

a. Canada
b. Cote d'Ivoire
c. Croatia
d. China
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Canada

Explanation:
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was informed today that India and Canada have mutually agreed to jointly issue a set of two Commemorative Postage Stamps on India-Canada: Joint Issue on the theme “Diwali”.

The joint stamps will be released on 21st September, 2017.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed between Department of Posts and Canada Post for this joint issue.

India and Canada have a longstanding close relationship, based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, equality for all and rule of law.

Strong people-to-people contacts and the presence of a large Indian Diaspora in Canada provide a strong foundation for the relationship.

In this joint issue, the theme “Diwali” has been selected as it is a cultural theme for both the countries and also considering the large presence of Indian Diaspora in Canada.


9)   MoU has been approved between India and a foreign nation for which fund on 30th Aug, 2017?
- Published on 31 Aug 17

a. India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)
b. India-Jordan Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)
c. India-Egypt Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)
d. India-Ethiopia Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)

Explanation:
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel.

This is on “India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)”.

The MoU was concluded in July, 2017

India and Israel will make a contribution of four million US Dollars each for the Fund, both equivalent amount, annually for five years.

The Innovation Fund will be governed by a joint Board which will consist of four members from each country.

The MoU envisages promotion of bilateral Industrial R&D and Innovation cooperation in the fields of science and technology by extending support to joint projects for innovative or technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes.

Such projects will lead to affordable technological innovations in focus areas of mutual interest such as water, agriculture, energy and digital technologies.

Institutional support in building up consortia including private industry, enterprises and R&D institutions from India and Israel will be enabled through these collaborative projects.

The activities supported by the Joint Fund would increase the techno-economic collaboration between the two countries by investing in jointly developed technology projects and collaborations based on technological innovation.


10)   Which country has signed an MoU with India for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies?
- Published on 31 Aug 17

a. Brazil
b. Brunei
c. Britain
d. Bhutan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Brazil

Explanation:
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was apprised of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Brazil for cooperation in the fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies.

The MoU was signed in October, 2016.

The MoU will strengthen the existing friendly relations between India and Brazil.

It will promote development of Genomics and Assistant Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) in Cattle through joint activities to be implemented through mutually agreed procedures.

An implementation committee shall be created with an equal number of representatives of each party for the purpose of regularly determining the activities.

Also on the anvil are developing work plans and subsequently their evaluation.

It will be done through joint projects in the fields of Productivity Improvement of cattle and buffaloes, for the purpose of broadening the existing knowledge base on sustainable dairy development and institutional strengthening.

The MoU would promote and facilitate scientific cooperation and setting up of genomic selection programme in Zebu Cattle through

a. application of genomic in Zebu Cattle and their crosses and buffaloes
b. application of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) in cattle and buffaloes
c. capacity building in genomic and assisted reproductive technology
d. Related research and development in Genomics and ART in accordance with the respective laws and regulations of the two countries and is covered under Rule 7 (d) (i) of the Second Schedule of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961.


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