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International Report

In Ships Undertake Group Sail

Why in news?

  • IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti carried out Group Sail with naval ships of Japan, Philippines and the United States of America in the South China Sea
  • IN Ships also took part in Maritime Security (MS) Field Training Exercise (FTX) under the aegis of ADMM-PLUS.

ADMM-Plus:

  • The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the
  • The ADMM-Plus countries include ten ASEAN Member States, namely,
  • Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Eight Plus countries – dialogue partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, ROK, Russian Federation, and the United States.
  • The ADMM-Plus has become an effective platform for practical cooperation among the participating countries’ defence establishments.

Objectives of ADMM-Plus:

  • To benefit ASEAN member countries in building capacity to address shared security challenges, while cognisant of the differing capacities of various ASEAN countries;
  • To promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency; To enhance regional peace and stability  through cooperation in defence and security, in view of the transnational security challenges the region faces;
  • To contribute to the realisation of an ASEAN Security Community which, as stipulated in the Bali Concord II, embodies ASEAN’s aspiration to achieve peace, stability, democracy and prosperity in the region where ASEAN member countries live at peace with one another and with the world at large;
  • To facilitate the implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme, which calls for ASEAN to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous ASEAN, and to adopt greateroutward- looking external relation strategies with our friends and Dialogue

Who For Eliminating Industrially Produced Trans Fats by 2023

Why in news?

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) is working with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) to eliminate trans fat from industrially produced global food

Key facts:

  • The WHO stressed the value of regulatory action on labelling, marketing and urged industry for full adherence to the WHO code of marketing of breast milk
  • The IFBA committed to limit the amount of industrial trans fat in their products below 2 grams per 100 grams fat/oil globally by
  • Industrially produced trans fat is responsible for more than 5,00,000 deaths globally from coronary heart disease each year. Increased intake of trans fat is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease mortality and
  • The WHO recommendation is that people consume less than 1% of their energy from trans fat. This translates to 2.2 grams for a 2,000 calorie
  • Elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply has been identified as one of the priority targets of WHO’s strategic plan, the draft 13th General
  • Programme of Work (GPW13) which will guide the work of WHO in 2019 –2023
  • WHO also released REPLACE, a step-by-step guide in 2018, for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food
  • As part of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, the global community has committed to reducing premature death from non-communicable diseases by one-third by 2030. Global elimination of industrially-produced trans fats can help achieve this

India’s position:

  • India has set targets to reduce the industrially produced trans fat to less than 2% by the year 2022 in a phased manner, a year ahead of the WHO
  • To achieve the target, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched two initiatives: Eat Right Movement and Heart Attack Rewind mass media campaign.
  • Eat Right Movement: Launched in 2018, the programme is built on two broad pillars of ‘Eat Healthy’ and ‘Eat Safe’. It aims to cut down on salt, sugar and oil consumption by 30% in three
  • Swachh Bharat Yatra, a Pan-India cyclothon, was launched under the movement to aware the citizens on issues of food safety, combating food adulteration and healthy
  • Heart Attack Rewind: It is a 30-second public service announcement which was broadcasted in 17 languages on social media platforms. The objective of the campaign was to warn citizens about the health hazards of consuming trans fats and offer strategies to avoid them through healthier alternatives.

International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA):

  • IFBA was founded in 2008 by the CEOs of leading food and non-alcoholic beverage companies to empower consumers to eat balanced diets and live healthier lives, in support of the World Health Organization’s efforts to improve global public

REPLACE:

  • REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply:
  • REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy
  • Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and
  • Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans
  • Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the
  • Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policymakers, producers, suppliers, and the
  • Enforce compliance of policies and regulations

Basel Convention

Why in News?

  • 14th Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP-14) is being held in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The theme of the meetings will be ” Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”.

Basel Convention:

  • The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted on 22 March 1989 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Basel,
  • The overarching objective of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous
  • Its scope of application covers a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous  wastes” based on their origin and/or composition and their characteristics, as well as two types of wastes defined as “other wastes” – household waste and incinerator

Aims and provisions:

    • The reduction of hazardous waste generation and the promotion of environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, wherever the place of disposal;
    • The restriction of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes except where it is perceived to be in accordance with the principles of environmentally sound management; and
    • A regulatory system applying to cases where transboundary movements are
    • The Convention also provides for the establishment of regional or sub-regional centres for training and technology transfers regarding the management of hazardous wastes and other wastes and the minimization of their generation to cater to the specific needs of different regions and subregions (article 14). Fourteen such centres have been

ARCTIC COUNCIL

Why in News?

  • India has been re-elected as an observer to the Arctic

Arctic council:

  • The Arctic Council was established in 1989. It is an initiative of the Government of Finland where spokespersons from the 8 Arctic Countries met in Finland, to discuss cooperative strategy to safeguard the Arctic
  • The Arctic Council is formed of circumpolar countries of Russia, United States, Canada, Norway, Demark, Sweden, Iceland and
  • The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental body set up in 1996 by the Ottawa declaration to promote cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States together with the indigenous communities and other Arctic
  • Through this collaboration, the Arctic Council created with the signing of the Ottawa Declaration on 19 September 1996 in Canada. India has approved the observer status at the Kiruna Ministerial Meeting in
  • The major focus areas of the Arctic Council are
    • The Environment and climate change
    • Bio-diversity
    • Oceans
    • The indigenous Arctic peoples

Observer Status:

  • India along with China, South Korea, Singapore, Italy and Japan has Observer status at the Council.
  • India was given observer status through Kiruna
  • Observers are not allowed to take part in the active meetings. They usually participate in side
  • Observer status in the Arctic Council is open to Non-governmental organizations, Non- littoral states as well as to Intergovernmental and Inter-Parliamentary

GLOBAL STATUS REPORT ON ROAD SAFETY

Why in News?

  •  Road accidents are the leading cause of death among people in the 5-29 age-group worldwide with more than 1.35 million lives lost each year and 50 million sustaining injuries, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report

Details of the Report:

  • Global Status Report on Road Safety is released by WHO  Since 2008 India have maintained dubious distinction of being world number one in road crash deaths.
  •  In 2015, India became a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety, where India committed to halving road crash deaths by 2020.
  •  As per the data released by the Indian government, road crashes kill close to 1,50,000 people each year. However, the WHO global status report on road safety had challenged the numbers and stated that India might be losing over 2,99,000 people each year.
  •  Road crashes have emerged as the single biggest killer of people in the age group of 15-45.
  •  The reasons listed for this trend include — rapid urbanisation, poor safety, lack of enforcement, distracted, influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding and a failure to wear seat-belts or helmets, according to experts.

INDIA AND U.S. HOLD BILATERAL TRADE MEETING

Why in News?

  • India and the United States held the India-U.S. Bilateral Trade meeting in New
  • Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Government of India and Mr. Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, United States of America co-chaired the bilateral Meeting

India-U.S meeting:

  • Both sides appreciated the strong, robust and growing bilateral ties between India and the U.S. across the entire spectrum of trade and commerce.
  • During the year 2018, with bilateral trade in Goods and Services registered a growth of 12.6% from $ 126 billion in 2017 to $142 billion in 2018
  • Both co-chairs also complimented the new bilateral private sector led Small Business Interaction initiative, the US – India SME Forum
  • This is the first event of its kind and would pave the way for collaboration and partnership between the U.S. and Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the areas of manufacturing and services.
  • Both sides also discussed various outstanding trade issues. Both sides agreed to engage regularly at various levels to resolve outstanding trade issues by exploring suitable solutions, which are mutually beneficial
  • Both sides agreed to deepen economic cooperation and bilateral trade by ensuring greater cooperation amongst stakeholders, including Government, businesses and entrepreneurs.

BCIM ECONOMIC CORRIDOR

Why in News?

  •  China has said that the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor will not be a part of the Belt & Road Initiative.

BCIM Economic Corridor:

  •  The BCIM economic corridor aims to connect Kolkata with Kunming, capital of the Yunnan province.
  •  It envisages formation of a thriving economic belt, focusing on cross-border transport, energy and telecommunication networks.

Significance of BCIM:

  •  India will benefit in terms of the development of the Kolkata port and the opening up of the economic potential of the northeast states.
  •  It offers India an opportunity to create its own win-win relationship with China.
  •  It can use the economic corridor for negotiating downstream industries to be located within India. With natural gas reserves of about 200 trillion cubic feet, the largest in the Asia-Pacific, Bangladesh could become one of the major energy exporting countries
  •  Promotes tourism. It is pivotal for India’s ‘Act East’ Policy.
  •  Access to several booming markets in Southeast Asia, improvement of transport infrastructure and setting up of industrial zones.
  •  It would facilitate cross-border movement of people and goods, reduce overland trade bottlenecks, ensure access and increase volume of trade
  •  Reduce transaction costs, enhance trade and investment and poverty alleviation in the region.

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI):

  •  China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.
  •  The BRI comprises a Silk Road Economic Belt – a trans-continental passage that links China with south east Asia, south Asia, Central Asia, Russia and Europe by land – and a 21st century Maritime Silk Road, a sea route connecting China’s coastal regions with south east and south Asia, the South Pacific, the Middle East and Eastern Africa, all the way to Europe.
  •  The programme is expected to involve over US$1 trillion in investments, largely in infrastructure development for ports, roads, railways and airports, as well as power plants and telecommunications networks.
  •  The BRI’s geographical scope is constantly expanding. So far it covers over 70 countries, accounting for about 65 per cent of the world’s population and around one-third of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  •  The initiative defines five major priorities:
  •  Policy coordination;
  •  Infrastructure connectivity;
  •  Unimpeded trade;
  •  Financial integration and Connecting people.

Special 301 Report

Why in News?

  • India continues to remain on the United States (US) ‘Priority Watch List’ for alleged violations of intellectual property rights (IPR) and for posing new challenges that have negatively affected American right holders over the past

Highlights:

  • The Office of the United States Trade Representative released its annual Special 301 Report, in which it placed 36 countries on the Priority Watch
  • These countries will be the subject of increased bilateral engagement with the USTR to address Intellectual Property (IP) concerns. USA places trading partners that currently present the most significant concerns regarding IP rights on the Priority Watch List or Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

International Solar Alliance Funding

Why in News?

  • The International Solar Alliance, a global body for cooperation among solar resource-rich countries, will no longer be classified as a foreign source of funding for non-governmental organisations in India.

Highlights:

  • The decision  was taken  as part  of  India’s  efforts to  assist  and  help  achieve  the  goal of

increasing the use of solar energy.

  • The United Nations, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, International Labour Organisation, and International Monetary Fund are among 109 organisations exempted by India from foreign funding
  • The funds received by NGOs and other entities from the ISA will not be governed by the FCRA.

ISA:

  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 122 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. now extended to all members of UN. The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil
  • The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental
  • It is headquartered in Gurugram, India
  • The focus is on solar power

INTERNATIONAL FLEET REVIEW

Why in News?

  • IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti are scheduled to arrive Qingdao, China on 21 Apr 19 to participate in the International Fleet Review as part of 70TH Anniversary celebrations of PLA (Navy).

International Fleet Review:

  • International Fleet Review (IFR) is a parade of naval ships, aircraft and submarines, and is organised by nations to promote goodwill, strengthen cooperation and showcase their organisational capabilities
  • IFR also serves as an ideal platform for world’s navies to showcase their prowess and indigenous ship designing and ship building capabilities in a global/ international arena.
  • The second IFR conducted by India off Visakhapatnam in Feb 2016 saw overwhelming participation of 50 navies with nearly 100 warships
  • The Indian Navy would be represented in the IFR at Qingdao by indigenously built stealth guided missile destroyer INS Kolkata and fleet support ship INS Shakthi

INDIA AND FRANCE TO CONDUCT LARGEST NAVAL EXERCISE “VARUNA”

Why in News?

  • India and France are all set to hold their largest-ever naval exercise ‘Varuna’ with aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines and fighters early May as part of their expanding strategic partnership.

Highlights:

  • The exercise that has been christened ‘Varuna’ will take place off Goa and Karwar from 1st May 2019.
  • Conducting the Varuna exercise was reiterated in the Joint Statement made by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, on the 10th of March 2018
  • The two countries will be deploying their aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and FNS Charles de gaulle with their Mig-29K and Rafale-M naval fighter jets
  • The Indian participation will also include the destroyer INS Mumbai, frigate INS Trikand with their integral helicopters, IN submarine Kalvari, P8-I aircrafts and Dornier Maritime Patrol aircraft.
  • This comes after the successful operationalisation of the logistics support agreement between India and France under which Indian warships can access the French bases like Reunion Islands and in Djibouti
  • Under the same pact, French anti-aircraft destroyer FNS Cassard had docked at the Mumbai naval port in January 2019
  • This was second such logistics support agreement signed by India after the one signed by it with United States (US) in 2016

BBIN INITIATIVE

Why in News?

  • In the backdrop of the growing maritime engagement between India and Vietnam, the Indian Navy undertook the second edition of the bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy at/ off Cam Ranh Bay,Vietnam

Highlights:

  • The maiden edition of the bilateral maritime exercise was conducted at Da Nang (from 21 to 26 May 18), Vietnam.
  • The exercise was undertaken as a part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment of Eastern Fleet ships to South East AsianThe Indian Navy and the Vietnam Peoples’ Navy have traditionally shared good relations. Conduct of the bilateral exercise on an annual basis would give a further fillip to the existing strong bilateral relationship between the two countries, which since Sep 16 have been elevated to the level of ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ after the visit of the Hon’ble PM to Vietnam.
  • The Navy to Navy cooperation involves a Composite Training Programme in the fields of Submarine, Aviation and Dockyard Training
  • The two countries have also signed an agreement to exchange White Shipping Information and have a running ‘Information Sharing’ programme.
  • The Indian Navy-Vietnam Peoples’ Navy Bilateral Exercise is a significant step in further strengthening mutual confidence and interoperability as well as sharing best practices between the Indian and the Vietnam Peoples’

Exercise ‘SEA VIGIL’

Why in News?

  • The debrief of Exercise Sea Vigil was held on 16 April19

Highlights:

  • The maiden national level Coastal Defence Exercise SEA VIGIL was conducted by Indian Navy from 22-23 Jan 19
  • The exercise witnessed the simultaneous activation of the coastal security apparatus across the country involving maritime stakeholders at the Centre and all the 13 Coastal States and Union Territories
  • All relevant agencies from the field units in different states participated through Tele- Conference.
  • The Chairperson complimented the strong interagency coordination and interoperability achieved during the exercise and reiterated the need for flexibility and agility to deal with security Challenge
  • Key takeaways from the exercise debrief were deliberated and disseminated to all for further action/ follow-up. The feedback from the exercise and the deliberations would be presented at the next meeting of the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS).

INDO-PACIFIC WING SET UP IN THE FOREIGN OFFICE

Why in News?

  • The Ministry of External Affairs has set up an Indo-Pacific Wing in the foreign office

Highlights:

  • The Indo-Pacific division is intended to give a coherent architecture to the Indo-Pacific policy articulated by PM Narendra Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018
  • Setting up of this special wing or division makes a strong strategic Statement

Indo-Pacific Wing or Indo-Pacific Division:

  • The Indo-Pacific Wing is currently headed by joint secretary VikramDoraiswami
  • The Indo-Pacific Wing is a big step by the Government and it is expected to give thrust to the Indo-Pacific centred Policymaking
  • The Indo-Pacific Wing integrates the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Squad
  • The Indo-Pacific diplomacy of India has repeatedly placed ASEAN at the centre of its policy.
  • Even the US has recently renamed its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific Command as it seeks to give teeth to its Indo-Pacific Plicy

STATE OF WORLD POPULATION-2019

Why in News?

  • The State of World Population-2019 released by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Highlights:

  •  India’s population grew at an average of 1.2% annually between 2010 and 2019 which is more than double the annual growth rate of China. Around half of India’s population in 24 states have achieved the replacement fertility rates of 2.1 children per women, which is the desired family size when the population stops growing.
  •  27% of India’s population was in the age bracket of 0-14 years and 10-24 years, while 67% of the country’s population was in the 15-64 age bracket. 6% of the country’s population was of the age 65 and above.
  •  India registered an improvement in life expectancy at birth. The life expectancy at birth in 1969 was 47 years, growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019.
  •  The findings on women aged between 15-49 years were published for the first time as part of United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of World Population 2019 report. It includes data on women’s ability to make decisions over three key areas:  Sexual intercourse with their partner   Contraception use and Health care.
  • According to the analysis, the absence of reproductive and sexual rights has major and negative repercussions on women’s education, income and safety, leaving them “unable to shape their own futures”. Early marriage continues to remain an obstacle to female empowerment and better reproductive rights.
  •  The report highlights the threat to women’s and girls’ reproductive rights posed by emergencies caused by conflict or climate disasters.
  •  The release of report marks 50 years of the UNFPA being established to support countries to bring down fertility levels.
  • It also marks 25 years of International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, where 179 governments agreed on a rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health to address population growth.

Reproductive health:

 

  •  Reproductive health can be defined as a state of well-being related to one’s sexual and reproductive life.
  •  It implies, “that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so”.

UNFPA:

  •  It is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.
  •  It was established as a trust fund in 1967 and began operations in 1969.
  •  The mandate of UNFPA is established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
  •  UNFPA is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly.
  •  UNFPA is entirely supported by voluntary contributions of donor governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and foundations and individuals, NOT by the United Nations regular budget.
  •  UNFPA works directly to tackle Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health, Goal 4 on education and Goal 5 on gender equality.

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