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Union Cabinet approves pact for avoidance of double taxation with Belgium

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the signing of a Protocol amending the Agreement between India and Belgium for avoidance of double taxation.

Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Key Facts

  • The amendment in the Protocol will broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information between the two countries.
  • It also revises the scope of existing treaty provisions on mutual assistance in collection of taxes and further help to curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.
  • The Protocol will also revise the existing treaty provisions on mutual assistance in collection of taxes.


PM Narendra Modi unveils Asia’s largest optical telescope ARIES at Nainital

Asia’s largest and first of its kind optical telescope Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) was unveiled at Devasthal in Nainital District, Uttrakahnd.

It was remotely activated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel from Belgium.

Key facts

  • Aries telescope was joint collaborative technological effort between Indian and Belgian scientists.
  • Location: It has been located at a height of 2,500 metres at Devasthal in Nainital district. The site was chosen for getting a clear view of the sky.
  • Features: The ARIES optical telescope has mirror of 3.6 m diameter.
  • The telescope facility has been incorporated with high end technology which enables it to be operated with the help of remote control from anywhere in the world.
  • Applications: It will help in the study and exploration of planets, starts, magnetic field and astronomical debris. It will also help research of star structures and magnetic field structures of stars.


The ARIES telescope has been a joint international effort between Indian, Russian and Belgian scientist. In March 2007 ARIES and Belgian company Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems (AMOS) had entered a contract for design, manufacture, integration, testing, supply and installation of the telescope. Belgium also had funded 7 per cent of the project whose total cost is estimated to be more than 120 crore rupees.


Union Cabinet gives nod to MoU between India and Belgium in the field of energy

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Belgium for cooperation in development of new and renewable energy technologies.

The MoU will be signed between Union Ministry of Power and respective Belgian government authority at the Federal and regional level.

Key facts of MoU

  • Objective: To establish cooperative institutional relationship between countries to promote and encourage technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energy issues.
  • It will be on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity of both countries in the field of energy sector.
  • Areas of cooperation: It will focus on development of new and renewable energy technologies in the field of Solar (thermal and photovoltaic), Wind energy, Biomass, Geothermal energy, Smart grids, Marine energy.
  • It would also include contribution for diversification of renewable energy supply and energy security and any other mutually agreed areas.