BIMSTEC Current Affairs - 2019
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The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leader Narendra Modi (68) was sworn in as 15th Prime Minister for a second consecutive five-year term.
- Oath: The oath of Office and Secrecy was administered by President Ram Nath Kovind to Narendra Modi and his team of 57 Union council of ministers.
- Ceremony: The oath-taking ceremony was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, which was attended by more than 6000 invitees including leaders from Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries and foreign envoys.
- Minister: The portfolios allocation of Union Council of Minister includes 24 Cabinet ministers, 9 Minister of State with Independent charge and 24 Minister of State. One-third of total ministers in Cabinet are first-timers, which includes BJP president Amit Shah and former Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The portfolios for new ministers are yet to be announced.
- Background: The election for 17th Lok Sabha was held in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May 2019. Over 90 crore people were eligible to vote and the general election saw a turnout of more than 67% voters which is highest ever recorded and also the highest participation by women voters. The election was held for total 542 seats.
Key Highlights of 17th Lok Sabha Election
- NOTA: The highest NOTA (none of the above) vote share of 5.04% in Lok Sabha election was reported from Gopalganj in Bihar. The Lowest NOTA vote share of 0.17% in Lok Sabha reported from Bidar in Karnataka.
- Youngest Lok Sabha Member: Biju Janta Dal (BJD’s) Chandrani Murmu, who won from Keonjhar in Odisha, became youngest candidate elected in history of Lok Sabha at 25 years, 11 months and 8 days.
- Lowest Margin Victory: Bharatiya Janta Party’s (BJP) Bholanath won Machhlishahr seat in Uttar Pradesh by just 181 votes which is the lowest margin recorded in the Lok Sabha elections.
The first field training military exercise MILEX-18, as part of the Bay of Bengal initiative for multi-sectoral technical and economic cooperation (BIMSTEC) commenced at Foreign Training Node at Aundh in Pune, Maharashtra. All member BIMSTEC countries, except Thailand and Nepal will take active part in this exercise. Thailand and Nepal will only be sending group of observers.
The theme of the exercise is counter-terrorism in semi-urban terrain. Its main aim is to promote strategic alignment among member-states and to share best practices in the area of counter-terrorism. The exercise will include training in operations like search-and-cordon operations, search and destroy and handling and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) among other things. Each participating member country will be represented by platoon sized contingents including around 30 soldiers (including five officers, 25 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and personnel of other ranks). As part of this exercise, conclave of Army chiefs of all seven member-states is also being planned. In it, army chiefs will debate challenge of terrorism and transnational crime, which is major concern among all states and discuss ways to promote collective cooperation.
Through this exercise India is trying to achieve in cooperative defense diplomacy. It is also looking forward to initiate process of sharing counter-terrorism strategies among armies of member nations in the region. India also wants to start a dialogue, sharing of procedures, thoughts, processes and certainly strategies to deal with terrorism collectively in region.
Note: BIMSTEC countries had held disaster management exercise in 2017 in New Delhi, but this will be first military exercise of the grouping.
It is regional group 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.
Its member countries are 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.
BIMSTEC’s main objective is to promote technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and south-east Asian countries along coast of the Bay of Bengal. The grouping is sector-driven cooperative organization, started in 2006 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.