Ministry of External Affairs Current Affairs - 2020

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Ministry of External Affairs creates “NEST” to increase investment coordination

The Ministry of External Affairs is to set up a new division called NEST-New and Emerging Strategic Technologies. The division will work to increase investment coordination among the states of the country and also with the foreign countries.

Highlights

The NEST will act as a nodal point to exchange views with foreign governments. This will help in confronting emerging challenges and scenarios in new technologies. With India coping with issues of security implications in 5G and artificial intelligence, NEST division will help India spread emerging technologies among the states. It will also aid in coordination among domestic ministries and departments.

The division will also hold responsibility for matters that involves negotiations with multilateral fora like United Nations, G20. This will help to safeguard India’s interests as such forums govern the rules of access to such technologies.

The Emerging Technologies

The top Emerging Technologies in India are Artificial Intelligence and Internet of things. The emerging 5G technology will improve the performance of IoT platforms.

3D printing finds its application widely in areas such as defence, aerospace, automobile, engineering and medical. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is yet another emerging technology that finds its application in supply chain management and customer services.

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Senior diplomat Harsh Vardhan Shringla to be new Foreign Secretary

The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Harsh Vardhan Shringla, currently serving as India’s ambassador to United States (US), as the next foreign secretary. He is likely to take over will take over as next Foreign Secretary soon after Republic Day, 2020 i.e. on 29 January for a two-year tenure.

HV Shringla will take over the charge from incumbent, Vijay Gokhale, an expert on China and East Asia, who succeeded S. Jaishankar as foreign secretary in January 2018. S. Jaishankar was later appointed as External Affairs Minister by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2019.

About Harsh Vardhan Shringla

He is an alumnus of St Stephen’s College and Mayo College, Ajmer. He is a 1984-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer and also the topper of 1984 batch of civil services. When he takes over as next foreign secretary, he will supersede three other officers- Ruchi Ghanshyam (1982), current high commissioner to the UK; Amita Nair (1983) India’s ambassador to Chile; and Rajeev Chander (1983) Indian PR in Geneva.

Service: Before taking over the charge as ambassador to US, he has served as ambassador to Thailand (from 2014 to 2016) and high commissioner to Bangladesh. He has also served at UNESCO in France, UN in New York besides Israel, South Africa and Vietnam. He has also served in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and held the position of joint secretary in charge of Sri Lanka, Maldives Bangladesh, Myanmar division, so would have a deeper understanding of the neighbourhood, which is of primary concern to government.

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