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Resolution introduced in US House to bring India on par with NATO allies

A Congressional resolution aiming to bring India on a par with America’s NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies in terms of Defence trade and technology transfer was introduced recently.

The US-India Defense Technology and Partnership Act (HR 4825) proposes to amends the Arms Export Control Action. It was introduced by Congressman George Holding, Co-Chair of the House India Caucus.

The resolution seeks to formalise (i) India’s status as a major partner of equal status as US’s NATO allies and closest partners and (ii) also elevate India’s status in export of defence articles from the US.

Benefits to India

  • Cement the India-US relations and lay a foundation for future cooperation and growth.
  • Shorten the time required for the notification of sale or export of defence articles from the United States to India.
  • Encourage more joint contingency planning and require the US government review and assess India’s ability to execute military operations of mutual interest.

US-India Defence Relations

Defence trade between the US and India is one of the strongest areas of the bilateral economic relationship. Over the past 10 years it has risen from $300 million to over $14 billion.

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India to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement on transit corridor

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for India to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement, an international transport and transit corridor.

The agreement facilitates transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.  India would become party to the Agreement upon consent of the founding members.

Accession to the Agreement would enable India to

  • Utilise this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction and ties with the Eurasian region.
  • Synchronise India’s efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity.
  • It will provide India an opportunity for reorientation of the freight traffic from the traditional sea route to land transcontinental routes.

About Ashgabat Agreement

  • It is a transit agreement established in year 2011.
  • It establishes international transport and transit corridor between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf countries.
  • Its founding members are Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Oman. Kazakhstan had joined the grouping in 2015.

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India assumes BRICS Chairmanship from Russia for 2016

India has assumed BRICS Chairmanship from the Russian Federation for the year 2016. BRICS is an association of five countries viz. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

On this occasion, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj formally unveiled the BRICS Logo for the duration of India’s BRICS Chairmanship and also launched website.

Logo: Lotus with colours from all the five members and traditional namaste at the centre.

Core theme: Building responsive, inclusive and collective solution for the grouping.

India has assumed BRICS Chairmanship for second time and had hosted the  BRICS Summit in 2012 for first time in New Dehli. The 7th BRICS Summit was held in the Russian city of Ufa in July 2015.

Key facts

  • India will host the 8th BRICS Summit would be organized on 15-16 October 2016 in Goa.
  • It will host over fifty meetings and events, at the Ministerial, Working Groups, Senior Officials, Technical and Track-II levels.
  • Building responsive, inclusive and collective solutions is the core-theme for the BRICS Chairmanship.
  • The special focus will be on institution-building, implementing past commitments and exploring innovative solutions in a spirit of continuity with consolidation.

About BRICS

  • BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • Established: 2009. Originally it was known as BRIC before the inclusion of South Africa in 2011.
  • First Summit: The first formal summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
  • The BRICS members are all developing or newly industrialised countries and all five are G-20 members.
  • They are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs.

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