Current Affairs – August, 2018

4th BIMSTEC Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal

The fourth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit was held in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. The theme of the summit was ‘Towards a Peaceful Prosperous, and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region’. India was represented by Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi. This was his fourth visit to Nepal after becoming Prime Minister in 2014

Key Facts

Enhancing collaboration in areas of regional connectivity, coastal shipping, space, energy, transport and tourism were focus of the summit. Besides, countering terrorism, enhancing regional connectivity and boosting trade were dominant agenda of 4th BIMSTEC summit.

Other leaders who attended this summit are Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Myanmar President U Win Myint, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Bhutan’s Chief Justice and Chief Advisor to interim government Dasho Tshering Wangchuk.

Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

BIMSTEC is regional grouping of seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia lying in littoral and adjacent areas of Bay of Bengal constituting contiguous regional unity. It was established on 6 June 1997 through Bangkok Declaration. It is headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The first BIMSTEC summit was held in Thailand in 1997, second in India in 2008 and the third in 2014 in Myanmar.

Member countries: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka from South Asia and Myanmar, Thailand from South East Asia. They are collectively home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of global population and has a combined gross domestic product of $2.8 trillion.

BIMESTC’s prime objectives: Promote technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and south East Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. BIMSTEC is sector-driven cooperative organization, starting with six sector including trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism and fisheries. In 2008, it was expanded to embrace eight more sectors including agriculture, public health, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism, environment, culture, people to people contact and climate change.

India and BIMSTEC

India has been pushing for making BIMSTEC vibrant forum for regional collaboration as cooperation under South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) framework is not moving forward. India has been maintaining that it was difficult to proceed with SAARC initiative under current circumstances citing continuing support to cross-border terrorism from Pakistan. Pakistan was also blocking connectivity initiatives such as SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA). BIMSTEC excludes Pakistan.  India is now pushing for similar pact motor vehicle agreement in BIMSTEC with an aim to enhance regional trade.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018

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Department of Biotechnology inks MoU with IAE on Enhancing Innovation for Clean Energy Transition

Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under Union Ministry of Science and Technology has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with International Energy Agency (IEA) for enhancing innovation for Clean Energy Transition.  The MoU seeks to deepen co-operation in support of clean energy innovations to accelerate research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of clean energy technologies in India. It will also help support generation of data for policymaking and improve knowledge of good policy practices for innovation in India and around the world.

Key Facts

The MoU will ensure cooperation for sharing of energy policies on RD&D and sharing of best practices on data collection and analysis. It also has provision for activities such as training and capacity building and accelerating energy innovation by identifying sources of finance. The MoU will be coordinated for Union Ministry of Sceince & Technology by Mission Innovation India Unit set up by DBT and for IEA it will be coordinated by its International Partnership and Initiatives Unit (IPI). It will be initially valid for three years.

International Energy Agency (IEA)

IEA is an inter-governmental organization established in 1974 as per framework of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It was established in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis after the OPEC cartel had shocked the world with a steep increase in oil prices. Presently it has 30 member countries including India. It is headquartered in Paris, France.

Its prime focus is on the “3Es” of effectual energy policy: energy security, economic development and environmental protection. It also seeks to promote alternate energy sources (including renewable energy), rational energy policies and multinational energy technology co-operation. It acts as energy policy advisor to 29 member countries and also non-member countries like China and Russia.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

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