India-United Kingdom Current Affairs

India and UK sign MoU to ease restrictions on number of scheduled flights

India and United Kingdom (UK) have signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to ease restrictions on the number of scheduled flights between the two countries.

The MoU was formally signed by Union Minister of Civil Aviation Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju on behalf of India and Lord Tariq Ahmad of UK during his visit to India.

Under this MoU
  • Limits on flights from key Indian cities including Chennai and Kolkata have been scrapped, allowing for a greater range of flights for passengers while providing a boost to trade and tourism for the UK and India.
  • All destinations in the UK is opened for Indian carriers for code share flights, and UK carriers can also operate code share flights to any International Airport in India, through domestic code share arrangements.
Comment

The increase in number of flights between both countries will boost businesses and tourists. It will bring direct and indirect benefits to many sectors of the economies of two countries. Tourism from India makes an important contribution to the UK’s economy. In 2015, there were 422,000 visitors from India to the UK, bringing more than 433 million pounds to its economy.

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Joint maritime exercise ‘Konkan 16’ between India and UK begins

The annual bilateral maritime exercise Konkan 16 between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy (British Navy) started in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

The 2016 edition of the exercise (from 05 to 16 December 2016) will play an important chapter in the maritime interactions. It will familiarise navies of both countries with each other’s planning processes and further enhance synergy and inter-operability.

Key Facts
  • Konkan 16 will be conducted in two phases in Mumbai and Goa. The first phase (05 to 09 December 2016) will be held in Mumbai.
  • In it there will be a command planning exercise involving the two navies, where planners from both sides will undertake planning for combined maritime operations.
  • The second phase is a LIVE EXERCISE (LIVEX) will be held from 12 to 16 December 2016 at Goa. It involves interaction between the Indian Marine Commandos (MARCOs) and the Royal Marines.
  • Both phases will involve sharing of best practices and lessons learnt from recent operations, especially in the field of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO).
Background

The exercise KONKAN has been named after the Western coastal region of India. It was institutionalised in 2004. Since then, the exercise hosted in rotation by both the Navies. It has grown in complexity, scale and intensity.

Comment

Successive editions of KONKAN exercises have built on past experiences and have enhanced operational inter-operability between the two navies. This cooperation between the two navies is a positive and tangible symbol of commitment in ensuring a positive climate for maritime security and economic development. It will further strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and UK and enhance India’s capability to work together to contribute towards maritime security in the global commons.

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