Current Affairs – October 2016

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India, China conduct second Joint tactical Exercise in Ladakh

India and China have conducted second joint military exercise “Sino India Cooperation 2016” in Ladakh region along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

The exercise compliments Hand in Hand series of India-China joint military exercises that aims to enhance cooperation and maintain peace and tranquility along border areas of both countries.

Key Facts

  • The theme of the day long joint exercise was based on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR). In it a fictitious situation of earthquake striking an Indian Border village was painted.
  • Thereafter joint teams of both countries carried out rescue operations, evacuation and rendering of medical assistance.
  • The exercise not only refined the drills to provide succor to the border population in case of natural calamity but has also increased the level of trust and cooperation between the border guarding forces of both countries along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.

Background

  • The second edition of the exercise was conducted as part of ongoing initiative between both countries to enhance interaction and cooperation under provisions of Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), 2013.
  • The first Joint Exercise under BDCA, 2013 was held in February 2016 in the area of Border Personnel Meeting Hut at Chushul Garrison of Eastern Ladakh, along with Chinese troops of Moldo Garrison.

Comment

  • This is for first time both countries have conducted military exercises in state of Jammu and Kashmir in Eastern Ladakh amidst growing uneasiness in the bilateral relationship.
  • The exercise also comes in the backdrop of stalemate over India’s multilateral disagreements with China over blacklisting of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar at the United Nations and membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

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EC hosts first ever International Conference on Voter Education

The Election Commission of India hosted the first ever International Conference on Voter Education in New Delhi.

The three day (from 19 to 21 October, 2016) conference was inaugurated by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr Nasim Zaidi.

Key Facts

  • The topic of the first of its kind conference is Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation. 27 countries and 5 international organizations are participating in it.
  • It has been organized with an aim to share best practices, initiatives and policies of voter education by election management bodies.
  • It aims at achieving a resolution to strengthen inclusive, ethical and informed electoral participation among member countries with the help of voter education and outreach.
  • It will deliberate upon five topics ranging from Role of Information Communication Technology in Voter Education, Electoral Literacy to Enhanced participation by special categories of voters and Strategies for Informed and Ethical Voting.
  • The Conference will see the launch of the ambitious VoICE.NET project, a Global Knowledge Network on voter education.
  • Besides, an exhibition showcasing Voter Education tools and materials will be also organized on the occasion.

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India, Algeria mull fertilizer Joint Venture

India has shown keen desire to initiate a joint venture (JV) arrangement with Algeria for a multi-billion dollar fertilizer plant located in the North African country.

The proposal in this regard has moved to front burner following a meeting between Algerian Minister for Industry and Mining and Indian Minister of State for Chemicals in Algiers.

However no specific agreements were signed between both courtiers at the end of Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s three-day visit to Algeria.

Why India is forming JV with Algeria?

Phosphorus is one of three important elements in the chemical fertilizers that are most important in plant nutrition along with nitrogen and potassium. India, which has up to 96% phosphate dependency. Currently, India imports raw phosphate resources from a number of African countries including Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Syria and also from Russia, Canada and Israel among others. For India, forming JV Algeria will have major favourable food security implications and also could ease the fertilizer subsidy burden.

India-Algeria

India’s bilateral trade with Algeria currently stands at 1.5 billion dollars a year with the trade balance in Algeria’s favour given India’s import of oil and gas. The major item of exports from India to Algeria has been automobiles.

India-Hungary

Earlier, Vice-President Hamid Ansari had visited Hungary on as part of this two-nation trip (Hungary and Algeria). Both countries had signed two agreements including in the field of water management.

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