Cabinet Decisions Current Affairs - 2020

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India-Swiss Air Service Pact to be amended, Cabinet approves signing protocol

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Protocol to amend the Agreement between Swiss Federal Council, the highest executive authority of Swiss Confederation and Government of India related to air services, as well as to exchange diplomatic notes with Switzerland for bringing amendments in air services agreement into force. The protocol will allow more number of airlines to start flight operations between two countries.

The Air Services Agreement decides the number of airlines that can fly between both countries. It also notifies number of destinations in each country to which flight operations can be conducted by other country’s airline.

Key Highlights of Amendments

Under the amendments, multiple airlines would be allowed to conduct operations between India and Switzerland. As of now, only two airlines are permitted.

As per the amendments, the ‘designated airlines’ of each country would be free to decide reasonable tariff without resorting to anti-competitive and predatory behaviour. Also, the designated airline(s) may use aircraft leased from other company or airline(s), but lessor not to exercise the rights it doesn’t have.

However, before a country’s airline can operate international flights, a bilateral air services agreement has to be negotiated for deciding how many total flights/ seats can be allowed from one nation to another, each week.

Significance

Amendments in Air Services Agreement between India and Switzerland will bring it in tune with developments in civil aviation sector and will also provide enabling environment for enhanced as well as seamless connectivity. It will also provide commercial opportunities to carriers of both sides ensuring greater safety and security.

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Cabinet approves India-Saudi Arabia Agreement on Strategic Partnership Council

Union Cabinet headed Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved Post Facto the Agreement signed by Prime Minister for establishment of Strategic Partnership Council between India and Saudi Arabia. The agreement was signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on 29 October 2019 during former’s two-day visit to the Gulf Kingdom.

About India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council

The council will be headed by PM Modi and Crown Prince Mohammed and meet every 2 years. It will coordinate decisions regarding strategically important issues.

Significance:

Strategic Partnership Council Agreement will significantly boost strategic ties between India and Saudi Arabia and will open new avenues of partnership in strategic areas such as defence, counter-terrorism, energy security as well as renewable energy.

The Agreement will enable leadership at highest-level in both India & Saudi Arabia to meet regularly as well as monitor progress in ongoing initiatives/projects under strategic partnership. It will also help identify new areas for forging strategic engagement and will define goals to be achieved and benefits to be derived. The proposal aims to benefit citizens with improved economic and commercial linkages with Saudi Arabia irrespective of any gender/class/income bias.

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