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India, Australia sign six agreements

India and Australia have singed six agreements in various fields such as terrorism, sports, health, environment, aviation sector to boost bilateral cooperation.

These agreements were signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull after delegation level talks.

Signed MoUs are
  • MoU on Cooperation in Sports.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Environment, Climate and Wildlife.
  • MoU for Promotion and Development of Cooperation in Civil Aviation Security
  • MoU on Cooperation in Combatting International Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime.
  • Implementation arrangement between ISRO and Geoscience Australia on Cooperation in Earth Observation and Satellite Navigation.
Highlights of delegation level talks
  • Both countries sought to provide a boost to trade and security ties including counterterrorism cooperation.
  • Trade deal: Both countries could not conclude negotiations for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which they have been negotiating.
  • Uranium Supply: Australia held that ready to supply uranium to India as soon as possible. Both countries had signed civil nuclear cooperation in 2013 but actual supply has not yet commenced due to absence of any commercial contract.
  • NSG membership: Australia will spport for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and also for Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement, the two export control regimes.
  • Maritime security: Both countries agreed share common interests in ensuring maritime security and the safety of sea lines of communication.
  • They also recognised importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, resolving maritime disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS.
  • Defence: Both countries agreed to remain strongly committed to the breadth of their defence ties and recalled the Special Forces Bilateral Exercise conducted in October 2016.
  • They agreed that the bilateral maritime exercise first held in the Bay of Bengal in 2015 will be repeated off Western Australia in the first half of 2018. They took decision for first bilateral Army-to-Army exercise to take place in 2018.
  • They also agreed to look forward to the inaugural secretaries’ defence and foreign affairs dialogue in the ‘2+2’ format as a new mechanism to build on the deep strategic partnership.

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Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and Senegal in Health and Medicine

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Senegal in the field of Health and Medicine.

Both countries will set up a Working Group to further elaborate the details of cooperation and to oversee the implementation of this MoU.

The main areas of cooperation under MoU
  • Integrated Disease Surveillance.
  • Medical Research.
  • Hospital Management.
  • Emergency Relief.
  • Drugs and Pharmaceutical products and hospital equipments.
  • AIDS Control.
  • Traditional Medicine.
  • Any other areas of mutual interest.

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Government launches Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiative

Union Government launched Swachh Swasth Sarvatra initiative to strengthen health centres in open defecation-free (ODF) blocks.

The objective of this initiative is to strengthen community health centres in 708 ODF blocks across the country to enable them to achieve higher levels of cleanliness and hygiene.

Key Facts
  • The Swachh Swasth Sarvatra is a part of the Union Government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission and is focused on the twin objectives of constructing toilets and enabling behavioural change.
  • It is joint initiative of Ministry of Health and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to achieve better health outcomes through improved sanitation and increase awareness on healthy lifestyles.
  • Its objective is to build on and leverage achievements of two complementary programmes – Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and Kayakalp.
  • Under it, financial assistance of 10 lakh rupees will be given to the community health centres so that they can be strengthened to meet the standards of sanitation, hygiene and infection control.

Along with this, Union Health Minister J P Nadda and Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar also jointly launched a booklet- Healthy Children Healthy India. The booklet contains tips on leading a healthy life for children.

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