INDIA & WORLD CURRENT AFFAIRS
Third Joint Committee Meeting at the Secretary Level under the India-Japan CEPA Held
- The third meeting of the Joint Committee at the Secretary Level under the India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was held on July 29, 2016 in New Delhi.
- The Indian side highlight the various issues which need to be addressed by the Japanese side for providing greater market access to Indian Products in Japan, especially items with a high potential, like sesame seeds, marine products and pharmaceuticals.
- The Indian side also sought recognition of the Indian Organic Standards by Japan. The decision of Japan to reduce its increasing health care costs on account of its aging population and its decision to switch over to a higher share of generic medicines was seen as a potential opportunity for the Indian Pharma Industry, which is strong in generics.
Indo-US Expedition Discovered Natural Gas in Indian Ocean
- India’s Oil Ministry and the US Geological Survey made the discovery of large, highly enriched accumulations of natural gas hydrate i.e., an icy form of the fuel in the Bay of Bengal on July 26, 2016.
- Natural gas hydrates are a naturally occurring, ice-like combination of natural gas and water found in oceans and polar regions. The amount of gas within the world’s gas hydrate accumulations is estimated to greatly exceed the volume of all known conventional gas resources.
- According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gas hydrate deposits along ocean margins are estimated to exceed known petroleum reserves by about a factor of three.
BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue Concluded
- India hosted the BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue on July 26, 2016 in Patna, the capital city of the State of Bihar.
- The BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue will provide an opportunity for exchanges on strategic assessments of international situation and the regional situation of each country and trends therein, going beyond immediate issues of quotidian diplomacy.
- The role of BRICS in international governance, ongoing cooperation at BRICS Forum and identifying areas of convergence among BRICS would be a subject for reflection. This dialogue will also seek to enhance sharing of best practices in foreign policy planning and assessment between the BRICS countries.
‘Made in Afghanistan’ Conference to Boost I Bilateral Trade Hosted
- A conference titled ‘Made in Afghanistan’ was held in Delhi to promote Afghan products and boost trade relations between both nations on July 20, 2016.
- Harnessing the Economic Potential | was the theme of two-day long event held to strengthen India-Afghan relations in terms of trade, commerce and investment opportunities.
- An MoU was also signed between FICCI-FLO and Afghanistan women business federation during the event. If India hosts more conferences then it will be very helpful for the businessman and woman of both countries.
Petrapole Integrated Check Post Inaugurated
- Petrapole-Benapole is an important land border crossing for India-Bangladesh trade. More than 50% of the India-Bangladesh trade passes through Petrapole.
- The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the Petrapole Integrated Check Post through video-conferencing on July 21, 2016.
- Trade worth more than § 15000 crore takes place through the Petrapole ICP, which is more than all the other Indian Land Ports and Land Customs Stations put together. Approximately 15 lakh people and 150000 trucks cross Petrapole-Benapole every year.
- The Petrapole ICP will provide better facilities for effective and efficient discharge of functions such as security, immigration, customs, quarantine, etc. while also providing support facilities for smooth. cross-border movement of persons, goods and transport.
- Petrapole ICP will be the second ICP on the India-Bangladesh border after the Agartala ICP at the Agartala (India)-Akhaura (Bangladesh) land border. It will also be the biggest land port in South Asia.
India-Japan Signed Social Security Agreement
- India and Japan signed a social security agreement and benefit thousands of Indian and Japanese professionals and skilled workers working in the two countries on July 20, 2016.
- The pact will help avoid double social security contributions. In other words, an Indian worker on a short-term contract in Japan will be exempt from making a social security contribution there.
- The same applies to Japanese workers in India. This exemption will be provided only if the Indian worker is covered under the social security system of India and continues to pay his or her contribution during the period of overseas contract.