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11th ASEM summit begins in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The eleventh edition of Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM11) or ASEM2016 began in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The theme of the Summit is ‘20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity.

World leaders including from the leaders of 51 member countries and the representatives of European Union and Asian are attending the two day summit.

Indian delegation is led by Vice President Mohmmad Hamid Ansari. India’s agenda for the summit is to push the efforts to boost inter-continental connectivity.

Key Facts

  • ASEM2016 is being held in the new world environment following Britain’s exit from the European Union and a global economic slowdown.
  • It is also first major multilateral diplomatic gathering after recent ruling by UN-backed international tribunal which has struck down China’s claims in strategic South China Sea.
  • ASEM2016 will also take into consideration the issue of terrorism during deliberations after recent terror strike in Bangladesh and some European countries.

About Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM)

  • ASEM is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation that brings 53 entities – including 51 countries (including India) from Asia and Europe and two regional bodies European Union (EU) and the ASEAN.
  • It was officially established in March 1996 at the first summit in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • The dialogue addresses political, economic and cultural issues between the two regions.
  • It also seeks to strengthen the relationship between the two regions in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.
  • ASEM represents around 62.3% of the world’s population, 57.2% of the global GDP and almost 60% of the world’s trade.

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India Donates $1 Million to UN-ESCAP Tsunami Fund

India donated $1 million as contribution to United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) fund for tsunami, disaster and climate preparedness in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian countries.

It was donated by Ambassador of India to Thailand, Harsh Vardhan Shringla on 26 December 2014 to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Tsunami.

UN-ESCAP Multi donor Trust Fund aims to strengthen early warning systems for natural disasters like Tsunami and boost regional and South-South cooperation.

It also supports the activities that build resilience through strengthened early warning systems for coastal hazards.

It will ensure that vulnerable communities receive timely warning information that is required to save lives and livelihoods in disasters.

Background

On 26 December 2004, a 9.3-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia’s western point had generated a series of massive tsunami that smashed the coastline of 14 countries including India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Somalia. These tsunamis had claimed more 230000 lives.

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India-LAC investment conclave concludes

The India-LAC (Latin America and Carribean) investment conclave was held under the auspices of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry on October 16 and 17.

Objectives of the conclave

The objectives of the conclave are as follows:-

  • Provide insights to LAC region industries on lucrative investment opportunities available in India
  • Provide Indian industries insight into the LAC region to enable them to develop suitable strategies to penetrate the LAC region markets
  • Facilitate partnerships between industries in the Indian and LAC region
  • Enable government representatives from both regions to enhance economic engagement between India and LAC region.

Trade related issues

  • The LAC region is set to grow by 3.5% to 4% over the next years. Some of the factors attracting investors to the LAC region are its net FDI flows of $189 bn in 2012, increased international trade and reduced inflation.
  • In the backdrop of global economic recovery, India and LAC region are rethinking their strategy for engagement.
  • India’s trade with the 33 countries of LAC region, has grown at an annual rate of over 25% over the last decade. The amount of trade reached US $ 46 bn in 2012-13. However, the LAC region has received only around 4% of India’s outward FDI, with an amount of US $ 16 bn. FDI form LAC into India is also very low.

Focus LAC

The Indian government introduced the Focus LAC programme in 1997. This programme was meant to enable the Indian industry to target LAC markets for project exports, and export of industrial goods and services.

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