BRO completes strategic road in Bhutan

BRO completes strategic road in Bhutan
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has completed construction of a strategically key road in Bhutan. The road will connect Bhutan’s border town of Phuen-tshog-ling with its capital city of Thimphu. The new road is expected to reduce the travel time between Southern Bhutanese city of Phun-tsho-ling to Thimphu by one hour and reduce the journey by around 19.5 km of steep uphill driving.

SAFAR unveiled at Chandni Chowk

SAFAR unveiled at Chandni Chowk
Minister for Science and Technology, Harsh Vardhan has unveiled the 1st of a kind Air Quality and Weather Forecast System, SAFAR at Chandni Chowk in Delhi. The system will measure regular air quality parameters such as PM2.5 & PM10, levels of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide & benzene. The station will provide online information about ultrafine particles PM1 & mercury.

Nabard launches Centre for Climate Change

Nabard launches Centre for Climate Change
NABARD has launched a centre for accelerating concerted action on climate change by various stakeholders including government, private and financial sectors. The Centre for Climate Change has been set up in Lucknow. It would also support capacity building and project preparation effort in developing countries in the region as also in Africa.

Emergency ambulance service for Sri Lanka

Emergency ambulance service for Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will eflag a countrywide emergency ambulance service for Sri Lanka through video conferencing from New Delhi. The service has been introduced in two provinces of Sri Lanka with grant assistance from Government of India. India has given a grant of USD 22.8 million to Sri Lanka. This is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after Indian housing project.

Israeli Parliament passes Jewish nation law

Israeli Parliament passes Jewish nation law
The Israeli parliament has passed a bill that defines the country as an exclusively Jewish state. The bill also removes Arabic as official language giving it a “special status” that enables its continued use in Israeli institutions. There are 1.8 million Arabs, about 20% of the population of Isreal who viewed the move against their interest. The Current PM of Isreal is Benjamin Netanyahu.

International Army Games 2018, Moscow
Indian Army team has reached Moscow to participate in the International Army games scheduled from July 28 to August 11. India is participating in 2 competitions including the Tank Biathlon and Elbrus Ring – which is mountain warfare combat patrol competition near Elbrus Mountain. The Army games 2018 will be held in 7 countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Iran, Kazakhstan & Russia.

2018 BRICS Media Forum in South Africa

2018 BRICS Media Forum in South Africa
A decision to establish a BRICS Media Academy and a BRICS news portal was taken at the 2018 BRICS Media Forum at Cape Town in South Africa. The Forum, a high-level dialogue among media organizations from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, was held over 2 days under the theme — ‘Fostering an Inclusive, Just World Order’. The forum unanimously agreed to adopt the above declaration.

Google announces Android Dev Summit

Google announces Android Dev Summit
The Android Dev Summit is being organized at the Computer History Museum, Moutain View, California on 7 – 8 Nov 2018. The last one was in 2015, and it also happened at the Computer History Museum. Android Developer Days, or ADD, is an open conference held at various locations worldwide each year.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Cuba

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Cuba
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the MoU between India and Cuba on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy. The MoU was signed on 22nd June 2018. The MoU will enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the areas of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.

UK tops global ranking of nations’ soft power

UK has topped an annual global ranking of nations’ soft power, with France placed 2nd on the list of 30 countries which does not feature India. The 2018 ‘Soft Power 30’ index, ranked Germany as third followed by US. India does not figure on the list, but this year’s report also features a chapter dedicated solely to Asia, listing 10 countries in the region, ranking India’s soft power as 8th.

India, Bahrain sign pact to boost investment

India and Bahrain signed agreements in the field of healthcare and renewable energy and decided to enhance investments among both countries. The two sides also did an agreement on Exemption from Short Stay Visa for holders of Diplomatic and Official passport. The agreement comes after Sushma Swaraj meets Bahrainain Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

Sushma Swaraj embarks two-day visit to Manama

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will today embark on a two-day visit to Manama to co-chair the second High Joint Commission meeting with her Bahraini counterpart Shaikh Al Khalifa. Mrs Swaraj will inaugurate the new Chancery building complex and address the Indian community. The visit is expected to provide an opportunity to identify new areas of cooperation between both countries.

World Population Day

World Population day is an annual event, observed on July 11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. This year, the theme for the World Population Day is ‘Family Planning is a Human Right’. According to UN, China with 1.4 billion & India with 1.3 billion people are the 2 most populous countries, contributing to 19% & 18 % of the global population respectively.

India-Korea technology exchange centre

India-Korea technology exchange centre was inaugurated by MoS MSME, Giriraj Singh & Minister of SMEs & Start-ups of Republic of Korea, Hong Jong- hak in Delhi. It will work towards identifying Indian technologies which can be exported to Korea & find suitable Korean partners for the same. It will help SMEs of both the countries to learn from each other to enhance their comparative advantages

India Climbs To 57th Position in GII rankings

India was ranked 57th in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) rankings. Switzerland maintained its number one position in the Global Innovation Index rankings. Other countries that fell in the top 10 list were Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, Finland, Denmark and Germany. GII rankings are published by the World International Property Organisation (WIPO).

China pledges 20 bn in loans for Arab states

China will provide Arab states with $20 billion in loans for economic development, as China seeks to build its influence in Middle East. The money will be earmarked for projects that will produce employment opportunities & positive social impact in Arab States. China is also prepared to provide another 1 billion yuan to countries in the region to build capacity for stability maintenance.

Round Table Conference on Data for New India’

The Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation will organise a 2 day International Round Table Conference at New Delhi. The objective of the conference is to identify innovative ideas for improving the statistical system in India, taking cue from the best practices followed in advanced countries. Such a Conference is being organized in India for the first time.

World Sanskrit Conference in Vancouver, Canada

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar will inaugurate the 17th World Sanskrit Conference to be held at Vancouver, Canada from 9th to 13th July, 2018. The conference aims to promote, preserve & practice the Sanskrit language all over the world by the people. World Sanskrit Conference is being held in various countries across the globe once in every 3 years & so far it has been held thrice in India.

Trade ties of India and US to be mended

Indian Delegation headed by Santosh sarangi on it’s visit to the US in mid-July may fix some deal on trade tussles going between both countries. US is likely to maintain Generalised System Preferences (GSP) for India which will allow many exporters to enjoy low tariffs. India may change the price restrictions imposed on Medical devices imported from America to trade margin rationalisation.

25 Countries In Global Banks’ ‘High Risk’ List

China, UAE, Cyprus and significantly, Mauritius, along with 21other countries have been tagged as “high-risk jurisdictions” by global banks acting as custodians for foreign funds. It comprises the largest group of investors in the Indian stock market. Large investors and beneficial owners of these funds entering India through these high-risk jurisdictions will face close scrutiny.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix to visit India

UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will visit India and 3 other nations to thank the troop-contributing countries for their service. Lacroix will visit Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan. India is among the largest troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions with 6,712 Indian personnel currently deployed in 9 peacekeeping missions.

India, Italy agreed to revitalise ties

India and Italy agreed to boost cooperation in counter-terrorism and cybersecurity as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met the top Italian leadership and discussed steps to revitalise bilateral ties. It was the first major political exchange between the two countries. Ms. Swaraj is there on the first leg of her seven-day tour of four European countries.

Yoga Ambassador tour in Kerala

Around 60 yoga exponents from 22 countries would participate in yoga ambassador tour in Idukki district of Kerala. The tour has been organised by Association of Tourism Trade Organisation, India (ATTOI) in association with Ministry of Ayush and Kerala tourism and will conclude on 21st June. The tour was inaugurated by Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State, Ministry of AYUSH.

India excluded from UK’s relaxed student visa

India has been excluded from the UK’s new list of countries considered “low risk”, whose applicants will undergo reduced checks while applying for student visas. The countries on the list include the US, Canada and China among others. Students from these countries would face reduced checks on educational, financial and English language skill requirements to study at UK universities.

Macedonia signed pact to change its name

Macedonia has signed a pact to change its name which would end a three-decade dispute with Greece. After the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, Greece’s northern neighbour took the name Macedonia but Greece refused to accept it implying it had territorial claims over Greek province of Macedonia. Both Countries agreed to rename it as “The Republic of North Macedonia” which requires a referendum.

Sushma Swaraj on a 7 day tour to 4 Countries

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is on a 7 day tour of 4 European countries – Italy, France, Luxembourg and Belgium, which is aimed to strengthen trade ties and revamp pending EU-India free trade pact. During her visit she would celebrate 20th anniversary for India – French Partnership. She would also be the 1st ever external affairs minister to visit Luxembourg.

New report on paid paternity leave

According to a new UNICEF analysis, India is among almost 90 countries in the world without national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies. Almost two-thirds of the world’s children under one-year-old, nearly 90 million, live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by law to a single day of paid paternity leave.

World Blood Donor Day, 14 June 2018

Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations. This year’s slogan is “Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life”.

Rise in India-ASEAN naval games

India is instituting a series of bilateral and multilateral naval exercises with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. The Navies of India and Indonesia will hold their first bilateral exercise in the Java Sea. The bilateral with Indonesia is in addition to the Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) that the two sides conduct.

India mulls new group in WTO

India is considering bringing together a group of 8-10 member countries of the WTO. It would be an informal group within the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The group may include nations like Brazil, China, South Africa, China, Indonesia and Columbia.

India to make Lithium Ion batteries

India will soon start producing first indigenous Lithium Ion batteries. A MoU for transfer of technology for India’s first Lithium Ion (Li-ion) Battery project was signed between CSIR’s Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI) and RAASI Solar Power Pvt Ltd. At present India depends on countries like China, Japan and South Korea for import of Lithium Ion batteries.

Queen pineapple became Tripura’s ‘State Fruit’

President Ram Nath Kovind declared Tripura’s queen variety pineapple as state fruit. The state holds good potential in world trade. Export of the pineapple to foreign countries is a major step in connecting with world trade. Tripura exported its first consignment of one-tonne pineapples to Dubai earlier this month.

India ranks 137th on Global Peace Index 2018

India has moved up four places to the 137th rank among 163 countries on the 2018 Global Peace Index. Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. New Zealand, Austria, Portugal and Denmark also sit in the top five most peaceful rankings. Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, a position it has held for the past five years.

China and India meet for fighting corruption

A six-member delegation of senior Chinese officials will meet their counterparts in Indian agencies. It is to deepen cooperation between the two countries on people wanted for corruption and asset recovery. During the Chinese presidency of G20 in 2016, the “High Level Principles on Cooperation on Persons Sought for Corruption and Asset Recovery” was initiated. India supported the initiative.

India among top 5 in e-waste generation

5 : India is among the top five e-waste generating countries in the world besides China, the US, Japan and Germany, according to a report. Among states, Maharashtra contributes the largest e-waste of 19.8% but recycles only about 47,810 tonne per annum (TPA), the report released by Assocham and NEC. Tamil Nadu with e-waste contribution of 13% recycled about 52,427 TPA.

IAF chief BS Dhanoa to visit Brazil

IAF chief B S Dhanoa will begin a four-day visit to Brazil to explore possibilities of deeper defence cooperation between the two countries. The visit would also strengthen relationships and enable engagement in productive exchanges between the two air forces. The air chief marshal is embarking on the goodwill visit at the invitation of his Brazilian counterpart.

US vetoes Arab-backed UN draft resolution

The United States vetoed an Arab-backed UN draft resolution calling for measures to protect the Palestinians. Ten countries including China, France and Russia voted in favor of the draft put forward by Kuwait on behalf of Arab countries at the Security Council. Four countries Britain, Ethiopia, the Netherlands and Poland abstained.

U.S. Pacific Command renamed

The United States renamed its strategically important Pacific Command (PACOM) to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.Representatives from Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, India, New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Nepal attended the change-of-command ceremony in Pearl Harbor.The renaming recognizes India’s increasing military relevance for the US.

Hamburg to host 2018 Global Wind Summit

The first edition of the Global Wind Summit will be held in Hamburg, Germany from September 25-28, 2018. The event will provide a platform for experts from across the globe to discuss innovative and green technologies for harnessing wind energy making. India is the fourth largest country after China, US, and Germany in terms of wind energy installation capacity at around 33 GW.

Countries most targeted for phishing

According to RSA Fraud Report, India is among top 3 countries most targeted for phishing. Canada, U.S., India and Brazil are the countries most targeted by phishing. As per the report, phishing accounted for 48% of all cyber-attacks during the period between January 1 to March 31, 2018. Phishing is a method of trying to gather personal information using deceptive e-mails and websites.

MoU on cooperation in food security approved

Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding between India & Denmark regarding cooperation in the area of food safety. It will help improve food safety standard setting by getting access to best practices & facilitating food trade of important commodities. It will also promote understanding of best practices in areas of food safety in both countries.

India ranked 145th in healthcare access

India has been ranked 145th amongst 195 nations in terms of accessibility and quality of healthcare. As per the Lancet study, India is behind its neighbouring nations, Sri Lanka, China, Bangladesh and Bhutan. However, since 1990 lot of improvements have been seen in India. Countries with low scores were Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia and Guinea Bissau.

BNPM to increase bank note paper production

The government’s Bank Note Paper Mill India (BNPM) has received green signal to increase the production of bank note paper at its Mysuru unit in Karnataka. The production of bank note paper has been increased from 12,000 tonnes per annum to 16,000 tonnes per annum. The raw material used for manufacturing of currency paper is 100% cotton sourced from neighbouring countries.

India to attend SCO Culture Ministers’ meet

The Minister of State for Culture Dr. Mahesh Sharma will be attending Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Cultural Ministers Meeting at Sanya in China. It is the first time that India would be attending the SCO Culture Ministers’ Meeting. The meeting will showcase India’s initiatives to actively pursue cultural cooperation with other countries including SCO countries.

MoU between India & Morocco in legal field

The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for signing of the MoU for cooperation in the legal field between India and Morocco. The MoU will allow both the countries to share their experience and expertise in the field of law and legislation. The MoU will give an opportunity to the Lawyers, Law Officers and law students to discuss issues in the field of law and justice.

India fast losing mangrove cover

According to the report, India has ranked ninth in the area of mangrove forests it lost between 2000 and 2015, but the rate of loss is only half the global average. The report has been published by the Woods Hole Research Center, a think tank based in Massachusetts, USA. While Malaysia, Myanmar, Brazil, and Thailand were other countries to lose maximum cover during the period of study.

Tea industry records highest ever production

Achieving a historic feat, the Indian tea industry has recorded the highest ever production of 1,325.05 million kg as well as the export of 256.57 million kg during 2017-18. Total tea production in 2017-18 went up by 74.56 million kg or 5.96%, as compared to the corresponding figure in 2016-17. Growth in exports was majorly driven by 5 countries – Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, China & Russia.

Israel launched airstrikes against Iran

11 : Israel and Iran were engaged in their most direct confrontation to date after Iranian forces stationed in Syria fired nearly 20 missiles targeting Israel-occupied territory and Israel Defence Forces responded with airstrikes. This marks Israel’s most significant military action in Syria since the civil war started in 2011. The two countries have been engaged in a proxy war for years.

India ranks 4th on Asia-Pacific Power Index

India has been ranked fourth out of 25 nations in the Asia-Pacific region on the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index that measures power across 25 countries. India has been pegged as a “Giant of the Future” while Japan has been pegged as a “Smart Power”. India is ranked fourth on the parameters economic resources, military capability, diplomatic influence and fifth on resilience.

Bangladesh proposes India as OIC observer

Bangladesh has proposed restructuring of the charter of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to pave way for inclusion of non-Muslim countries like India as an “observer state”. The OIC is a 57-member grouping of Muslim majority nations. India, however, has fairly robust relations with most OIC member states.

Informal meeting of SAARC FMs held in Manila

The twelfth informal meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers was held in Manila, on the sidelines of the 51st Annual Meeting of Asian Development Bank (ADB).The meeting was chaired by the Finance Minister of Nepal Yuba Raj Khatiwada. The Finance Ministers/Heads of Delegation briefed the meeting about the current status of economic progress achieved by their countries.

Cuba, US to restore direct postal service

Cuba and the US have agreed to permanently restore the direct postal service between the two countries. This service allows the postal delivery of mail, parcels, and express courier deliveries on direct flights between Cuba and the United States, and through post offices in both countries. The direct postal service between the two neighbouring nations was suspended by Havana in 1968.

International Buddhist meet begins in Lumbini

The International Buddhist Conference got underway in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.The conference aims to disseminate teachings of Buddha and spread the messages of nonviolence, brotherhood, co-existence, love and peace to the international community. Representatives from 16 countries including U.S., Japan, India, China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka will attend the conference.

Six countries suspend membership in UNASUR

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru announced that they would indefinitely suspend their participation in the meetings of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).UNASUR was officially founded in 2008 in Brasilia between 12 governments in South America. The remaining active UNASUR members are Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Guyana and Suriname.

India to join countries having Sex Offender DB

India will join a club of 8 countries with a sexual offender database to monitor and track those convicted of such crimes.National Crime Records Bureau will maintain a national database and profile of sexual offenders. This data will be regularly shared with states and Union Territories for tracking, monitoring and investigation, including verification of antecedents by police.

Commonwealth to take action on cybersecurity

The Commonwealth countries have unanimously agreed to take action on cybersecurity by 2020.The declaration has been termed as the world’s largest & most geographically diverse inter-governmental commitment on cybersecurity cooperation. It followed an announcement by UK government pledging up to 15 million pounds to help the Commonwealth nations strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities.

1st meet of BRICS FMs & Central Bank Governors

First meeting of BRICS Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors was held on the sidelines of IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C.Main issues that were discussed were related to enhancing project pipelines of NDB evenly across member countries & expansion of NDB’s membership. Issues related to BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement as well as BRICS Bond Fund were also discussed.

Romania to move Israeli embassy to Jerusalem

The Romanian government has approved a memorandum to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.If approved by President Klaus Iohannis, Romania will become the third nation after the US and Guatemala to open an embassy in Jerusalem.Israel has reportedly offered preferential treatment to the first 10 countries to make the move.

India to host GITC

India will host the Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities this year, which is expected to be attended by people from 24 Asia-Pacific countries. India is hosting the event along with Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt of Korea. Event will be held in New Delhi from Nov 8 to 11. GITC is an annual event & has been held in Asia-Pacific countries like Korea & China in the past.

India ranked 10th in Innovation Index

India was ranked 10th on a new Commonwealth Innovation Index which was topped by UK, Singapore & Canada. The index has been created in partnership with United Nations World Intellectual Property Organisation & its annual Global Innovation Index. It is aimed at providing a tool that allows member states, organisations & citizens to benchmark themselves against 53 countries of Commonwealth.

India pools into USD 5mn Small States Fund

India is among 4 countries to pool into an innovative $5 million fund for small states to obtain easier access to international trade finance.India joins Sri Lanka, Mauritius & Malta to inject capital into the new scheme, which has Standard Chartered & BoB as its the facility managers.This new scheme is an example of innovative & collaborative approaches that are pioneered by Commonwealth.

India, Morocco sign pact

India has inked a pact with Morocco under which focus would be laid on the evaluation of potential mineral resources and promoting exploration and mining.The focus of the MoU is on the development of the geological infrastructure for Geoscience Maps and geochemical maps. The MoU in the field of Mining and Geology for a period of 5 years was signed by both the countries.

India ranks 130 in Index of Economic Freedom

India has jumped 13 places in the last one year to 130th spot in the latest annual Index of Economic Freedom released by the Heritage Foundation, a top American think-tank.As per the latest Index of Economic Freedom, China has jumped one spot and Pakistan is now at 131st position. In 2017, India with a score of 52.6 points was ranked at 143 among 180 countries.

UAE, Malaysia conclude military exercise

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Malaysia concluded “Desert Tiger 5” joint military exercise aimed at sharing expertise and enhancing joint military actions.The Desert Tiger series is an annual joint exercise between the two countries. The exercise also trains ground forces on the use of modern weapons for all types of combat operations.

UK’s 1st permanent Middle East military base

U.K. has opened its first permanent military base in the Middle East in more than 4 decades in the Persian Gulf country of Bahrain.The £40m UK Naval Support facility ‘Jufair’ at Mina Salman will be staffed by up to 500 soldiers, sailors and airmen. Both the countries hope that this base will increase military cooperation between the Royal Navy and its Bahraini counterpart.

Sugar tax comes into force in UK

Britain rolled out a sugar tax on soft drinks in an attempt to tackle obesity and tooth decay in children.All revenues raised through the tax will directly fund new sports facilities in schools as well as healthy breakfast clubs. The other countries which have introduced such similar taxes are Mexico, France and Norway.

India won Women Handball Championship

India defeated Bangladesh to win the fifth South East Asian Women Handball Championship at Lucknow.A total of five countries participated in the tournament. While Nepal finished as runner-ups in the five-country tournament, Bangladesh settled for the third spot and a bronze medal.

India ranked 3rd in facing most cyber threats

India ranked third in the list of countries where the highest number of cyber threats were detected, and second in terms of targeted attacks in 2017, according to security software firm Symantec.India was ranked second globally when it comes to spam and phishing (misleading emails, weblink etc). Symmantec detected 133 targeted attacks in India which are the work of organised groups.

3rd Annual Meeting of AIIB

2nd lead-up Conference to 3rd Annual Meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on ‘Enhancing Port and Coastal Infrastructure’ was held in Visakhapatnam.The Conference was organized by the Ministry of Finance, AIIB, CII and Research and Infrastructure System for Developing Countries.The need for international funding for developing and maintaining inland waterways was discussed.

Trial run of India-Bangladesh container train

The trial run of the first container train to run between Kolkata and Dhaka was flagged off on 3rd April.While passenger and goods trains run between the two countries, it is for the first time that container trains will be going to Bangladesh from India. The container train will take around eight hours to reach Bangladesh and can carry 60 containers.

‘Print Biennale India 2018’ inaugurated

The first International Exhibition of Graphic Prints =Print Biennale India 2018‘ was inaugurated in New Delhi on 26th March which is hosted by Lalit Kala Academy. The participants are from countries such as USA, UK, Sri Lanka, Italy, Mexico, China, Israel, Sweden, Lithuania etc. The event comprised a total of 200 original prints created by Indian and international artists.

Indus Commission meet commenced in Delhi

India & Pakistan held the meeting on Indus water treaty on 29th March. This will be the 114th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) that looks into the sharing of the waters of the Indus since the treaty was signed by the two countries in 1960. The Indus water treaty covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers—Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.

MoU between India and Canada on IPRs

The Union Cabinet approved the MoU between India and Canada to establish bilateral cooperation activities in the field of Intellectual Property (IP). The MoU is intended to promote innovation, creativity and economic growth in both countries. Both countries can exchange best practices and work together to raise awareness on IPRs and better protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

Exim Bank extends $500 mn loan to Africa

The Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) will provide a $500 million credit facility to ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) to fund various development projects in South-Western Africa. Exim Bank till date has extended 4 LoCs to EBID, with the support of the government. The LoC of $500 million to EBID is the limit for financing developmental projects in 15-member countries.

‘Print Biennale India 2018’ inaugurated

The first International Exhibition of Graphic Prints =Print Biennale India 2018‘ was inaugurated in New Delhi on 26th March which is hosted by Lalit Kala Academy. The participants are from countries such as USA, UK, Sri Lanka, Italy, Mexico, China, Israel, Sweden, Lithuania etc. The event comprised a total of 200 original prints created by Indian and international artists.

Earth Hour observed from 8:30 to 9:30 pm

People across the world observed the Earth Hour 2018 from 8:30 to 9:30 on March 24th by turning off their lights. Earth Hour is a global campaign wherein non-essential lights are turned off at 8:30 PM on a specific day towards the end of March. The concept of the Earth Hour began in Australia in 2007, and it is now being observed by 187 countries.

Indians least criminal among major economies

According to Institute for Criminal Policy Research, India has a lower imprisonment rate compared with other major economies. In India 33 of every 1 lakh Indians are behind bars. US, with 666 of every 1 lakh Americans behind bars, has the highest imprisonment rate among major countries. India‘s neighbours, China has a prison population rate at 118, while Pak is at 44 & Sri Lanka is at 78.

44 African countries signed FTA

44 African countries have signed an agreement establishing the ?African Continental Free Trade Area? at a summit of the African Union in Kigali, Rwanda. The summit was a step forward for the African Union‘s 2063 project for closer African integration. If successful, it will be the biggest trade agreement since the formation of the World Trade Organization in 1995.

India to open 18 Missions in Africa

The Union Cabinet on 21st March has approved the opening of 18 new Indian Missions in 18 African countries. This will enhance India‘s diplomatic outreach in the African continent and allow India to engage with Indian diaspora in African countries. The 18 missions will be opened over a four-year period between 2018 to 2021.

Gulf Shield 1 military exercise

The Gulf Shield–1 military exercise of 23 countries including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states was held in Eastern Region of Saudi Arabia. It was organised by Ministry of Defence of Saudi Arabia. The training aims to raise the military readiness of participating countries, modernise joint mechanisms and enhance coordination and cooperation.

India, Hong Kong signs Tax avoidance pact

20 : India and Hong Kong entered into a double taxation avoidance agreement, aiming to facilitate investment flow between both countries and prevent tax evasion. It will improve transparency in tax matters and help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance. The agreement will prevent double taxation and provide for the exchange of information between the two contracting parties.

4 nations recommended for graduation

Bhutan, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe and Solomon Islands are set to move up from the ranks of poorest nations. The improvement in ranking is due to their increasing national earning power as well as access to better health care and education. The four countries will be recommended for graduation from the least developed country (LDC) category.

Modi to inaugurate Science Congress

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 105th Indian Science Congress at Manipur University. It will be attended by some 5000 delegates comprising of scientists, scholars and corporate officials from different parts of the country and other countries. It is the first time that Indian Science Congress is being held in Manipur.

WHO’s southeast Asia region pledge to end TB

Countries of WHO‘s South East Asia Region pledged to end tuberculosis by 2030 and India assured its support to them for meeting their goals in eliminating the disease. The participating countries signed the =Delhi End TB Summit Statement of Action‘, which will ensure that their TB plans are fully funded. India will support all member countries in meeting their goals of becoming TB-free?

India ranks 78th on energy transition index

India has been ranked at 78th among 114 countries on the World Economic Forum‘s (WEF) energy transition index. The index listed countries based on their ability to balance energy security, environmental sustainability and affordability. The overall list was topped by Sweden, followed by Norway at the 2nd position and Switzerland at the 3rd rank.

Indian football team re-enters in top-100

The Indian football team has re-entered into the top-100 of the FIFA world rankings and is now placed at 99th. In 2017 the Indian team broke into the top-100 three times, rising as high as 96th in July- the second best ever after the 94th place attained in February 1996. But it ended the year at the 105th spot. Among Asian countries, the Indian team is at the 13th spot.

India and Madagascar inks deal

India and Madagascar have signed an agreement under which, both the countries will explore various ways of co-operation in the field of defence. An amended air service agreement was also signed to support efforts towards improving connectivity between the two countries. The Madagascar President decorated President Ramnath Kovind with second highest civilian honour Grand Cross.

Saudi Arabia cabinet approves atomic policy

Saudi Arabia‘s cabinet approved the national policy of its atomic energy programme as the kingdom prepares to award contracts for its first nuclear power plants. The policy insists on limiting nuclear activities to peaceful purposes and for enhanced safety measures and safe disposal of nuclear waste. Saudi Arabia has signed cooperation agreements with countries to boost nuclear cooperation,

No limit on membership in ISA

Membership of International Solar Alliance will be thrown open to all countries, with no restrictions on duration of sunlight or geographical location. When the ISA was announced in 2015, 121 nations situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and receiving 300 days of sunlight were eligible for membership. Sixty countries had signed up to join the ISA.

India, France inked 14 pacts

India and France inked key pacts in the strategic areas of security, nuclear energy after extensive talks between PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron. Agreements in the field of education, environment, urban development and railways were also signed. The two countries also decided to step up cooperation in space technology and use it in the maritime domain.

Start-up incubator for women We-Hub launched

A start-up incubator was launched by the Telangana government to exclusively promote entrepreneurship among women. The facility, named We-Hub, is the country‘s first state-led incubator exclusively for women entrepreneurs. We-Hub is an entrepreneurial platform for aspiring women from rural and urban backgrounds helping them achieve being independent and overcome the societal barriers.

Multi-nation naval exercise “MILES-18”

The first-ever multi-nation naval exercise at sea, MILES-18, has begun at the Andaman sea. The exercise aims to hone search and rescue procedures, maritime interdiction operations, core operational skills and exercise a variety of maritime security scenarios. 11 naval ships of 8 countries and nine Indian ships will be participating in this three-day exercise.

International Women/s Day, 2018

International Women‘s Day is dedicated to celebrating womanhood, their social, political, cultural, economic achievements and their significant contributions to society. The day also emphasises the importance of gender equality. Before the UN adopted it in 1977, the day was mostly celebrated in socialist and Communist countries. This year, the theme is #PressforProgress.

Turkey, Russia, Iran to meet at a summit

Turkey, Russia and Iran will participate in what would be a trilateral summit at Istanbul on April 4. The Syrian conflict is expected to be the issue to be discussed during the summit, along with other regional matters. The summit is to be held after the hosting of Turkey-Russia High-Level Cooperation Council on April 3, an intergovernmental cooperation mechanism between the two countries.

International Yoga Festival Held In Rishikesh

Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat inaugurated the week-long 29th annual, world-famous International Yoga Festival (IYF) in Rishikesh‘s Parmarth Niketan. The IYF offers daily classes from 4 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. with more than 80 revered saints, yogacharyas, presenters and experts from nearly 20 countries around the world.

Indian Military Ranked 4th Strongest In World

Out of 133 countries, India is ranked fourth on a global index for its military strength. Only the United States, Russia and China are ranked above India on the list, according to the latest report of the Global Firepower index 2017. India maintained its position above France in the top five military powers in the world.

Egypt court upholds Red Sea islands transfer

Egypt‘s top court has upheld a deal to transfer 2 Red Sea islands “Tiran & Sanafir” to Saudi Arabia. Court ruled that all previous court verdicts in the case are annulled. It also turned down a second case over the issue filed by the govt. Situated between the 2 countries, islands of Tiran & Sanafir are largely unoccupied but they lie in a strategically important & politically sensitive area.

India 12th largest holder of US securities

5 : India‘s exposure to US government securities rose sharply to a high of $144.7 billion at the end of 2017. In 2017, China was the largest holder of US government securities with holdings to the tune of $1.18 trillion, followed by Japan at $1.06 trillion. Among the BRIC countries, India had the third largest exposure while that of Russia was lower at $102.2 billion.

13% tiger cons. areas meet global standards

Only 13 % of the tiger conservation areas met the global standards of an accreditation system, the Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS). The survey was conducted at 112 sites located in 11 tiger-range countries, including India. CA|TS is a new conservation tool to set minimum standards for effective management of target species and to encourage assessment of these standards.

India and Canada ink six pacts

India and Canada have signed six agreements, including in the area of nuclear science, energy cooperation and information communication technology.An agreement b/w India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and the Department of Canadian Heritage was also signed for cooperation in sports. An MoU between the two countries for cooperation in higher education was also signed.