South Korea Current Affairs - 2020

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PM inaugurates manufacturing facility for K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns in Hazira

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Armoured Systems Complex (ASC), developed by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) at Hazira near Surat in Gujarat. This Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) is the country’s first private facility where the K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns will be manufactured.

K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns

The features of the K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns

  • The gun weighs 50 tonnes and can fire 47kg bombs at a 43-kilometre distance target.
  • It can turn around at zero radii.
  • K9 Vajra is a variant of K9  specially designed for operation in the desert areas bordering Pakistan.

Make in India – Defence

The Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) at Hazaria is a striking example of Make in India Defence. The L&T is executing the production of the K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns and has signed a transfer of technology contract for guns with South Korean company Hanwha Corporation.

Around 400 SMEs are involved in developing 13,000 parts and steps are being taken to make a totally indigenous battle tank without having to depend on external help.

The Army now doesn’t have to depend on foreign nations for spare parts during its 40-year life cycle. The Army’s life cycle cost will be drastically reduced.

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Henley Passport Index

The Henley Passport Index measures the access each country’s travel document affords. The Index is based on the data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.

Ranking of the Jurisdictions

The Rankings of the jurisdictions based on the rankings in the Henley Passport Index are:

  • Japan retained its top spot as the world’s most travel-friendly passport due to the document’s access to 190 jurisdictions.
  • South Korea and Singapore are at joint second position offering access to 189 jurisdictions.
  • China has jumped almost 20 places in just two years, from 85th in 2017 to 69th this year.
  • India jumped two positions from 81st in 2018 to 79th this year.
  • European Union member states along with Norway and the US occupy the places behind the top three nations in the rankings.
  • The rankings of the USA and UK have continued to drop.
  • The top 5 positions are held by Japan (190 countries), Singapore, South Korea (189), France, Germany (188), Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden (187), and Luxembourg, Spain (186)
  • The bottom 5 positions are held by Eritrea (38), Yemen (37), Pakistan (33), Somalia, Syria (32)and Afghanistan, Iraq (30).

Observations

Christian Kalin, Chairman of the Henley & Partners’ Group who is also the creator of the index notes that the ranking is a bright spot in an increasingly isolationist world.

Open-door policies have the potential to contribute billions to the global economy, as well as create significant employment opportunities around the world. The ascent in the rankings of South Korea and the United Arab Emirates are examples of what happens when countries take a proactive foreign affairs approach, an attitude which significantly benefits their citizens as well as the international community.

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