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UN Appoints Russian Diplomat Vladimir Voronkov as Chief of newly established United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appointed Russian diplomat Vladimir Voronkov to head the newly established UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), despite growing tensions between the US and Russia.

The Vladimir Voronkov has been given the rank of Under-Secretary-General. The new Under-Secretary-General would Chair the Task Force and Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.

The newly established UNCCT has been mandated to oversee the counterterrorism efforts of 36 UN-funded programmes under the ambit of a variety of UN agencies, 12 inter-agency working groups, Interpol, and the World Customs Organisation.

Voronkov has an experience of more than 30 years in Russia’s foreign service, serving primarily on UN-related issues. He had served as Russia’s ambassador to Vienna and has been serving as an ambassador to UN organisations since 2011.

UNCCT

Last week, the United Nations General Assembly has approved the establishment of a new United Nations office of counter-terrorism to help Member States implement UN’s global counter-terrorism strategy.

With the creation of new UN office of counter terrorism, UN will transfer the relevant functions out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) into the new body. The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) currently under the DPA will be transferred to the new office together with existing staff and associated budgetary resources.

India has welcomed the creation a new UN office on counter-terrorism. It expects that the newly established centre would help in aligning UN with the changing needs and international reality in the fight against terrorism. India has been repeatedly stressing on the need to have a separate office for counter-terrorism as the presence of as many as 31 entities within the United Nations dealing with some aspect of countering terrorism lacked coherence and coordination while dealing with terrorism.

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India and Russia Celebrates 10 Years of Partnership in Science and Technology

This year, India and Russia are celebrating 70 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between them. Joint cooperation in science and technology was one of the important pillars of the bilateral relationship between both the countries. Also, India’s Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi and Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Moscow are celebrating their 10th year of their partnership.

MoU

To expand the joint cooperation, India’s Department of Science and Technology and Russian scientists held discussions to enhance their cooperation in the fields of big data and cyber physical systems.

Subsequently, a MoU on the India-Russia unified technology assessment and accelerated commercialization programme, was concluded in Moscow between Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Russia’s Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE). The MoU is expected to improve closer interaction between scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the scientists of India. It was also agreed to work for start-up companies and entrepreneurs in order to establish Indo-Russian Bridge for Innovation.

The meeting also concluded with an Addendum to the Agreement between DST and Russian Science Foundation (RSF) on coordinated competition for conducting collaborating research. DST and RSF have agreed to support young achievers who are less than 39 years of age in a competitive mode for joint collaborative research. As of now, DST and RSF have jointly supported over 17 projects.

Background

With the closure of the Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) between both the countries in 2007, the DST-RFBR has emerged as a robust platform for bilateral scientific cooperation in Basic Sciences. The first call under the DST-RFBR programme was awarded in 2008. In the last decade, DST and RFBR have jointly supported 254 research projects. Under the ambit of this programme, projects have been undertaken in the areas of basic sciences Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry & Material Sciences, Biology & Medical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering Sciences and Computer Sciences and Telecommunications.

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Saudi Arabia: King names Son as new Crown Prince

Saudi Arabia’s king has appointed his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince and heir to the throne replacing his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef. This also means that Prince Mohammed bin Salman will become the kingdom’s deputy prime minister while continuing as defence minister.

Significance

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment as the first in line to the throne is seen by the younger generation as a sign that things are changing in the kingdom. Before his appointment, Prince Salman was responsible for leading Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

Prince Salman who is only 31 years old could lead Saudi Arabia for decades which means the kingdom will have a long period of internal stability. However, at the same time Mohammed bin Salman’s closeness to US President Donald Trump could increase pressure against Iran, which has the potential to raise tensions in the region.

Background-Saudi Arabia’s Royal Succession

The founder of Saudi Arabia is King Abdulaziz. He had dozens of sons and there exists as many as 15,000 princes and princesses in the royal family. In 2006, the royal kingdom proclaimed a decree under which a committee responsible for electing the king and crown prince was set up. This committee is made up of senior princes of the royal family and is known as the Allegiance Council.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s appointment has received the approval of 31 out of 34 members of the council. In Saudi Arabia, those in power has the habit of promoting their sons to the roles which will improve their chances of being promoted.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most influential Arab country. It is the world’s leading oil producer and the Saudi Royal family is one of the richest ruling families in the world.

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