India Current Affairs - 2020

India’s exports to China set to touch Record High

India’s export to China is expected to reach an all-time high in the financial year 2018-19.

Increase in Exports

The increase in the exports to China is attributed to US-China trade spat creating new opportunities for exporters and Beijing removing some trade barriers in its effort to check the growing bilateral trade imbalance.

The growth of exports was driven by the following sectors which include marine products, organic chemicals, plastics, petroleum products, grapes and rice.

Bridging the Trade Deficit

Indian exports are expected to reach an all-time high in the current financial year. The exports between April and December stood at $12.7 billion which is closer to last year’s exports of $13.33 billion.

India feels that more efforts are required for greater market penetration in China to bridge the trade deficit. India’s trade deficit with China stood at $63 billion in 2017-18. This $63 billion trade deficit was more than a third of India’s total trade deficit. The exports to China stood at $13.3 billion and imports from China stood at $76.38 billion in 2017-18.

Acknowledging the need to take steps to check the deficit, the following steps have been initiated to bridge the deficit:

  • China signed three export protocols with India on rice, fishmeal and tobacco to allow imports of the three items.
  • An announcement regarding Chinese import quotas for sugar and rice for 2019 is expected soon which would aid in planning their exports well in time.
  • India is also expecting to sign a protocol for export of Indian soyabean meals, cakes and pomegranates to China in the near future.

To make the most of the US-China trade dispute, the Department of Commerce had taken the initiative to identify and share with Indian exporters and other stakeholders, specific lines where the US will lose competitiveness in China and where India had an export potential.

Exercise Cutlass Express 2019

The annual multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express was held from 27 Jan to 06 Feb 19. The exercise is aimed to improve law enforcement capacity, promote regional security and progress inter-operability between the armed forces of the participating nations for the purpose of interdicting illegal maritime activity in the Western Indian Ocean.

The annual Exercise Cutlass Express is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and conducted by Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF). Exercise Cutlass Express 2019 is the eighth iteration of the annual multinational maritime exercise and was held in the vicinity of Djibouti, Mozambique and Seychelles.

The participating nations in the exercise Cutlass Express 2019 were Canada, Comoros, Djibouti, France, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Portugal, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, The Netherlands and the United States. The Indian Navy was represented in the exercise through INS Trikand.

During the exercise, Naval, Coast Guard and Marine Police personnel from a number of East African countries were jointly trained by mentors from USA, India, and Netherlands, with the support of international organisations like the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Combined Maritime Force (CMF) and European Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR).