Arctic Current Affairs - 2020

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First Session of India-Norway Dialogue held in New Delhi

Between January 15, 2020 and January 16, 2020, the first session of India-Norway trade and investment dialogue was held in New Delhi. It was the first meeting of the countries after they signed an agreement in 2019.

Highlights

India and Norway signed Dialogue of Trade and Investment when Norway Prime Minister visited India in 2018. Based on the agreement, the countries held their first meeting to discuss industrial trade. The discussions included on various areas such as renewable energy, ICT, fisheries, MSME, maritime, shipping. The countries exchanged their views on investment opportunities.

The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation, FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) made presentations. The Department of Economic Affairs and Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) highlighted several policy initiatives of the government.

Significance

At every bilateral meeting, it is important to involve the industries and their clusters as this would help in understanding and exchanging the dynamics.

India-Norway

The trade between India and Norway was 1127 million USD in 2014. It is far less as compared to its potential. There are 100 Norwegian companies that have invested in India. It includes hydropower, clean energy, petroleum related services, drilling equipment, etc.

Apart from trade, diplomacy ties with Norway is important for India for its Arctic researches. India has 2 important research stations in Norway. They are Himadr and IndARC.

Himadri-Polar Research Station

India, in 2008, opened its first Arctic Research Station in Norway. It is called Himadri. The main research of the station is on food-web dynamics, space weather, aerosol radiation, glaciers, microbial communities, carbon recycling and sedimentology.

IndARC

IndARC is the first underwater observatory of India in the Arctic Region. It is midway between Norway and North Pole. The observatory aims to study Arctic climate and how it influences the monsoon.

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Cabinet approves India’s MoUs with UK, Sweden and BMGF

On January 8, 2020, the Union Cabinet approved Memorandum of Understandings India had signed with United Kingdom, Sweden and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)

India-BMGF

The Ministry of Health and BMGF had signed the Mou in November 2019. The BMGF agreed to work with the Ministry to strengthen health sector of the country. It focuses on reducing child mortality, morbidity, maternal mortality and neonatal mortality. Also, it will aim to reduce burden of diseases such as Lymphatic Filariasis, Visceral Leishmaniasis and TB. The BMGF will also aid in improving quality of family planning methods.

The cabinet provided an ex-post facto approval for the project. Ex-post Facto is a Latin Word that means “from a thing done afterward”. In simple words, the project has already been started of completed.

India-Sweden

The Ministry of Earth Sciences and Ministry of Education and Research signed Mou in December 2019. According to the MoU, the countries will work on Polar Science. The countries agreed on polar exploration as they are both signatories of Protocol to Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection and Antarctic Treaty.

India-UK

The Ministry of Railway and the UK Government signed MoU to make Indian Railways self-sufficient in energy. The parties will work towards adopting solar and wind energy and adopt energy efficient practices. The UK Government will also aid in deploying Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure.

The objective of the MoU is to integrate renewable energy into electricity grid of railways. The UK Government will also help in conducting workshops, trainings and technological exchanges on emerging technologies on renewable energy.

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