International Current Affairs 2017

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India and Russia Celebrates 10 Years of Partnership in Science and Technology

This year, India and Russia are celebrating 70 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between them. Joint cooperation in science and technology was one of the important pillars of the bilateral relationship between both the countries. Also, India’s Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi and Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Moscow are celebrating their 10th year of their partnership.

MoU

To expand the joint cooperation, India’s Department of Science and Technology and Russian scientists held discussions to enhance their cooperation in the fields of big data and cyber physical systems.

Subsequently, a MoU on the India-Russia unified technology assessment and accelerated commercialization programme, was concluded in Moscow between Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Russia’s Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE). The MoU is expected to improve closer interaction between scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the scientists of India. It was also agreed to work for start-up companies and entrepreneurs in order to establish Indo-Russian Bridge for Innovation.

The meeting also concluded with an Addendum to the Agreement between DST and Russian Science Foundation (RSF) on coordinated competition for conducting collaborating research. DST and RSF have agreed to support young achievers who are less than 39 years of age in a competitive mode for joint collaborative research. As of now, DST and RSF have jointly supported over 17 projects.

Background

With the closure of the Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) between both the countries in 2007, the DST-RFBR has emerged as a robust platform for bilateral scientific cooperation in Basic Sciences. The first call under the DST-RFBR programme was awarded in 2008. In the last decade, DST and RFBR have jointly supported 254 research projects. Under the ambit of this programme, projects have been undertaken in the areas of basic sciences Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry & Material Sciences, Biology & Medical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering Sciences and Computer Sciences and Telecommunications.

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Saudi Arabia: King names Son as new Crown Prince

Saudi Arabia’s king has appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince and heir to the throne replacing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef. This also means that Prince Mohammed bin Salman will become the kingdom’s deputy prime minister while continuing as defence minister.

Significance

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment as the first in line to the throne is seen by the younger generation as a sign that things are changing in the kingdom. Before his appointment, Prince Salman was responsible for leading Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

Prince Salman who is only 31 years old could lead Saudi Arabia for decades which means the kingdom will have a long period of internal stability. However, at the same time Mohammed bin Salman’s closeness to US President Donald Trump could increase pressure against Iran, which has the potential to raise tensions in the region.

Background-Saudi Arabia’s Royal Succession

The founder of Saudi Arabia is King Abdulaziz. He had dozens of sons and there exists as many as 15,000 princes and princesses in the royal family. In 2006, the royal kingdom proclaimed a decree under which a committee responsible for electing the king and crown prince was set up. This committee is made up of senior princes of the royal family and is known as the Allegiance Council.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment has received the approval of 31 out of 34 members of the council. In Saudi Arabia, those in power has the habit of promoting their sons to the roles which will improve their chances of being promoted.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most influential Arab country. It is the world’s leading oil producer and the Saudi Royal family is one of the richest ruling families in the world.

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June 21: International Yoga Day

June 21st is annually celebrated as International Yoga Day since the year 2015. This year, the 3rd International Day of Yoga is being observed. The purpose of the yoga day is to promote yoga and make it as a part of people’s daily routine.

The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee has inaugurated a mass yoga demonstration to commemorate the 3rd International Day of Yoga at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
According to UN, this year Yoga Day’s theme is “Yoga for Health“. The theme has been chosen to highlight the fact that yoga can contribute in a holistic way to achieving an equilibrium between mind and body.

To mark the celebrations, massive Yoga practice sessions and demonstrations were being held in several places across the country and the world. This year many organisations are organising events to create a Guinness World Record by forming longest human chains and other Yoga related activities. In total, around 5,000 events have been scheduled to take place in about 180 countries. Some of the countries in which yoga day are celebrated are China, UK, the US, Bangladesh, South Africa etc. Indian high commissions around the world have organised many mass yoga demonstrations at various parts of the world. To mark the occasion, the headquarters of the United Nations in New York has been lit up with images of yoga postures.

Background

The first International Yoga Day (IYD) was celebrated across the world on 21 June 2015.
The idea of celebrating the International Yoga Day was pitched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2014. In December 2014, UNGA had unanimously adopted an India-led resolution to observe 21st June as ‘International Day of Yoga’. This resolution was adopted under the agenda of ‘Global Health and Foreign Policy’. The date 21st June was selected because it represents one of the two solstices and is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere which has special significance in many parts of the world.

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