Current Affairs Dec 2018 - Foreign Affairs


1 - India-Mozambique Joint Commission Meeting

Sushma Swaraj

The External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique, Mr. Jose Condungua Antonio Pacheco have attended the 4th session of Joint Commission meeting. The meeting was held on November 29, 2018 at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan, New Delhi. The theme of meeting was Economic, Cultural, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation.

In the Joint Commission meeting, both the leaders appreciated the growth of India-Mozambique partnership. The support through Lines of Credit and grant-assistance helps to enhance the capacity of Mozambican institutions in many fields including food security, small & medium enterprises, electricity, roads, drinking water availability, solar energy and information technology, etc.

Mr. Jose Condungua Antonio Pacheco has appreciated the recent progress in implementation of important Indian projects, particularly the Tica-Buzi Highway project. This project was funded through an Indian credit-line of about 150 million US Dollars. Other major LOC projects in the areas of electricity and housing also mentioned. Besides, the special contribution of Indian educational and training scholarships is also appreciated, as it helped greatly in enhancing the capacity of Mozambican youth. Likewise, both the parties agreed to further deepen and widen the realm of their development cooperation.

2 - Hygiene & Inspection Requirements for Exports – India & China

Hygiene Inspection

India and China have explored a new aspect by signing a protocol on hygiene and inspection requirements exclusively for the exports.

The commerce ministry announced in a statement that a protocol on hygiene and inspection requirements for the exports was signed in New Delhi during the visit of Chinese Vice Minister, General Administration of Customs, Hu Wei, who is leading a six-member delegation to India.

Such agreement would enable India to export fish meal and fish oil to China. However, by the time, the neighboring country has not allowed these exports by India. China imports fish oil worth of USD 143.29 million per year and fish meal worth of USD 263.43 million per year.

3 - India-Indonesia Business Forum

India Indonesia

With the objective to facilitate the commercial and people-to-people connection between India and Indonesia, India-Indonesia Business Forum has been organized at Port Blair. Owing to its close proximity to India’s Andaman & Nicobar Islands located in the Bay of Bengal and, Aceh and North Sumatra Province of Indonesia, the connectivity can be easily set up.

The Indian delegation was led by Pradeep Kumar Rawat, the Ambassador of India and assisted by the members of Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other officials from Andaman & Nicobar Administration. However, the primary research has been done by an academic institution of Indonesia. It has identified the potential opportunities in the economic field between Andaman-Nicobar and Aceh & North Sumatra.

The Major identified areas of cooperation are:

  • Eco-tourism (cruise tourism);

  • Air-transport connectivity between Indonesia and Port Blair (capital of Andaman-Nicobar); and

  • Sea transportation to facilitate trade between two regions.

4 - India-Sudan Foreign Office Consultations

India Sudan Flag

On 3rd December, 2018, the 8th Session of the Foreign Office Consultations between India and Sudan was held in New Delhi. Joint Secretary (West Asia and North Africa), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Dr. B. Bala Bhaskar and Director General of Arab and Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Sudan, Mahmoud Fadl Abdel Rasoul Mohammed have headed the meeting.

India has confirmed its commitment to work closely with Sudan in various bilateral fields. Besides, both countries also exchanged views on the issues of mutual concern at regional and multilateral levels.

Major areas of bilateral relations that were discussed include:

  • Political relations
  • Investments
  • Defence and Security
  • Human Resource Development and Capacity building
  • Agriculture
  • Lines of Credit, etc.

5 - Conference On EU-India Partnership

EU-India Partnership

On 4-5 December 2018, a two day Conference on ”EU-India Partnership for Cultural Heritage Conservation“ was organized at the National Museum in New Delhi.

The Conference was designed to achieve the following through collaborating with more than 30 European and Indian experts −

  • The present ongoing cooperation’s between India and the EU (its Member States) aimed at utilizing the potential of cultural heritage as an engine for social and economic development.

  • Utilize the cutting-edge technologies with the purpose to employ in identifying, exploring, mapping and surveying the cultural heritage sites. Additionally, usage of development models and solutions for digitization and archiving of cultural material.

  • Facilitate and promote research grants and scholarship scheme for Indian researchers, graduates and undergraduates in fields related to cultural heritage preservation.

6 - Sweden and India Signed MoU for Renewable Resource

Renewable Resource

Sweden and India have signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) for the development of renewable energy sector. As per the MoUs, the advanced technology will be used to increase the power efficiency.

The first MoU has been signed between Swedish firm Spowdi and Bengaluru based company EMMVEE for setting up local manufacturing and assembly unit in Bengaluru.

The second MoU has been signed between Swedish Neutral and India’s leading distribution company Tata Power DDL with the objective to set up pilot for earth fault protection in Delhi.

India and Sweden have a long history of collaboration, which is guided by MoU in the fields of environment, energy, science and technology and sustainable urban planning. However, to strengthen the collaboration, the new showroom has been set up in India – India Sweden Innovations Accelerator (ISIA).

Surprisingly, the showroom planned to present over 20 Swedish innovative technologies, which have been introduced and filtered through the dedicated ISIA program.

7 - Sushma Swaraj Inaugurated Gandhi-Zayed Digital Museum in Abu Dhabi

Digital Museum

Sushma Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister has inaugurated a digital museum in Abu Dhabi. The digital museum shows the life, works, and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and the founder of modern UAE Shaikh Zayed.

The Gandhi-Zayed Digital Museum, which is designed to promote peace, tolerance and sustainability, is a part of the celebrations to mark 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and also marks the birth anniversary of Shaikh Zayed. Ms. Swaraj visited the UAE for two days in the first week of December. During her visit, she has co-chaired the 12th session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting.

8 - Sushma Swaraj Co-chaired India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting in Abu Dhabi

Sushma Swaraj UAE

The External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj visited the UAE from December 3-4 to co-chair the 12th session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting with her counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The focus of the meeting was Economic and Technical Cooperation.

In the last decade, the two countries have become one of the largest trade partners of each other. The UAE is the sixth-largest source of Indian oil imports and hosts about 3.3 million-strong Indian community.

India and the UAE Tuesday signed two agreements as the outcome of the meeting. Currency swap agreement was the important one in these. Besides, Ms. Swaraj held exhaustive discussions with her counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed with the purpose to step up bilateral cooperation in areas like security, defence, counter-terrorism, trade, and energy.

9 - India Signed Agreement with Iran to Pay Crude Bill in Rupee

Pay Crude Bill

India and Iran has signed an agreement to pay for crude oil imports from the Persian Gulf nation in rupees. The Indian refiners will make rupee payments in the UCO Bank account of the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC).

On November 5, 2018, US has re-imposed sanctions on the export of oil from Iran; however, US has allowed a few countries to import oil from Iran, India is one of them. India had won the exemption after it agreed to cut imports and escrow payments (payment through third party).

Through the US permission, India can export food grains, medicines and medical devices to Iran. On the other hand, India is allowed to import a maximum of 300,000 barrels of crude oil a day, from Iran.