On his first foreign visit after becoming PM, Narendra Modi who is on a two-day Bhutan visit promised to foster bilateral ties which he described as “B2B —Bharat to Bhutan” as he held talks with the Bhutanese King and countries Prime Minister, discussing an entire range of relationship between the two nations.
He announced doubling of scholarships granted to Bhutanese students in India which will now be worth Rs 2 crore. Modi also assured to help Bhutan in establishing a digital library, which will provide access to Bhutanese youth to two million books and periodicals.
Prime Minister’s visit to Bhutan holds significance since China has lately scaled up efforts to persuade it and set up full-fledged diplomatic relationship with Bhutan.
The Namibian government has purchased 3,400 India-made Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for its presidential polls. Previously, India-made EVMs have been used by other countries in Asia to conduct smooth and fair elections.
The EVMs have been bought at a cost of Namibian $10 million (approx $948,000) from Bengaluru-based public sector unit, Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL). The South African nation Namibia, which had ordered 1,700 EVMs in 2013, placed another order earlier this year, is the first African country to use such machines in any of its polls.
What prompted Nambia to buy EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) from India?
Namibia is keen on purchasing the Indian made EVMs for its benefits like faster results, reduction in the number of spoilt ballots, low expenses in conducting the polls, and the elimination of manipulation avenues. Other features of attraction include newly introduced ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA), in-built clocks and Braille markings for the visually impaired. The machine eliminates the possibility of vote tempering by displaying the time when the vote was cast along with recording the ballot. It also gives hourly polling updates.
Which countries have purchased Indian EVMs in past?
As per the 11th five year plan of Government of India (GOI), India will contribute Rs.4500 crores Assistance Package to Bhutan. The package will help the landlocked country to implement major projects over the 11th Five Year Plan that will improve the livelihood of its people.
India’s assistance to the Eleventh Five –Year Plan (2013-2018) to Bhutan
- Project Tied Assistance (PTA)- Rs. 2800 crore.
- Small Development Projects- Rs. 850 crore.
- Development Subsidy or Program Grant-Rs. 850 crore.
In addition, GOI agreed to provide as Rs. 500 Crore as Economic Stimulus Package, to boost the Bhutanese economy and help the RGOB to tackle the liquidity shortage.
The 3rd BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Summit held at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
About BIMSTEC summit 2014
- Theme: “Partnership for Harmony and Prosperity”.
- Attended by:Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
- Chaired by:Myanmar.
- Objective: To create an enabling environment for rapid economic development through identification and implementation of specific cooperation projects and the sectors of trade and investment, technology, energy, transport and communication, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, cultural cooperation, environment and disaster management, public health, people-to-people contact, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism and transnational crime and climate change.
- Next Summit will be chaired by Kathmandu, Nepal.( The Bimstec summit takes place every four years).
Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed by countries on the establishment of the BIMSTEC’s:
- Permanent Secretariat
- Cultural Industries Commission (BCIC) and BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Observatory (BCIO)
- Centre for Weather and Climate
Resolutions taken by BIMSTEC members to
- Enhance cooperation in environmental protection and sustainable development.
- Enhance cooperation in the field of agriculture, including crops, livestock and horticulture besides fisheries.
- Finalize an agreement on trade in goods by 2014 with intent to promote regional commerce
- Conclude the Agreement on Services and Investments
- Work on agreements on dispute settlement and cooperation in customs matters under the Free Trade Area framework.
- Devise a framework for establishment of the BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility.
- Increase cooperation in expanding the skill and technology base of member countries.
Note: BIMSTEC is an international organization comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal as member countries.