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Visit of Chief of the Air Staff to the Russian Federation

Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha Chief of the Air Staff is on an official visit to the Russian Federation from 24 to 29 October 2016. 
●    The Chief of the Air Staff is visiting Russia on the invitation of the Commander of Russian Federation Aerospace Forces.
●    The visit is intended to take the existing defence cooperation between the Air Forces of the two countries to the next level. 
●    The areas of cooperation presently include military and technical cooperation, exchange visits and air exercises. 
●    During his visit to Russia, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha is scheduled to hold talks with senior military leaders and discuss a wide range of bilateral issues on the ongoing defence cooperation. 
●    He will also visit various Air Force and defence establishments.
●    Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha’s visit to Russia would provide further impetus towards increasing defence cooperation and deepening the bonds of friendship between the two Air Forces.

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India, US to Resolve Issues Related to Visa, Totalisation Pact

India and the US on Thursday committed to continue engagement to resolve issues related to visa, movement of professionals and totalisation agreement.
●    These issues were deliberated upon during the meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Trade Representative Michael Froman. 
●    They met under the 10th India- US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting.
●    The two countries acknowledged the ongoing discussions on totalisation and resolved to continue their engagement on the elements required in both countries in order to pursue a bilateral totalisation agreement.
●    India is insisting to start negotiations for the early conclusion of totalisation agreement or social security pact as its absence restricts movement of Indian IT professionals.
●    Both countries voiced concern about the unauthorised recording, including camcording, of films in cinemas and copyright piracy on websites, it said.

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India, Myanmar Sign Three Agreements


India and Myanmar on 19 October 2016 signed three agreements to boost the bilateral relations between the two nations. 
●    Keeping in view the sensitivity of each other’s strategic interests, the two nations also agreed for close security coordination in border areas.
●    The MoUs were inked in New Delhi after delegation level talks with the visiting State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi was on a three day visit to India. Agreements inked includes
●    MoU for designing an academic and professional building programme for insurance industry of Myanmar. 
●    MoU on Cooperation in the field of Power Sector: India has also offered to enhance power supply from Moreh in Manipur to Tamu in Myanmar.
●    MoU on Banking Supervision between RBI and Central Bank of Mya

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India Invites Pak to Disaster Mitigation Meet

India has invited Pakistan for a disaster risk reduction conference to be held in Delhi in November. But Pakistan is yet to confirm its participation.
●    In all, 61 countries have been invited, and 38 have so far confirmed their participation.
●    The Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction will be held from November 3 to 5. 
●    A senior official said close to 4,000 delegates from across the country and 1,500 foreigners would take part in the conference.
●    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is closely monitoring the preparations. 
●    An official said the conference was a step towards establishing India’s supremacy in the region in effectively handling disasters.

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India Lends Helping Hand to Myanmar's Reconciliation Efforts

India and Myanmar on 19 October 2016 signed three agreements to boost the bilateral relations between the two nations. 
●    The MoUs were inked in New Delhi after delegation level talks with the visiting State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi. S
●    uu Kyi was on a three day visit to India. Agreements inked includes
●    MoU for designing an academic and professional building programme for insurance industry of Myanmar. 
●    The MoU was signed between Financial Regulatory Department of Myanmar and Insurance Institute of India.
●    MoU on Cooperation in the field of Power Sector: India has also offered to enhance power supply from Moreh in Manipur to Tamu in Myanmar.
●    MoU on Banking Supervision between RBI and Central Bank of Myanmar.


 

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Second Joint tactical Exercise held by Indian and Chinese army in Ladakh 

As part of the ongoing initiative to enhance interaction and cooperation between India and China, under the provisions of Border Defense Cooperation Agreement, 2013, the Indian and Chinese armies held Second Joint Exercise “Sino India Cooperation 2016” today, as a sequel to the first Joint Exercise held on 06 Feb 2016 in the area of Border Personnel Meeting Hut at Chushul Garrison of Eastern Ladakh, along with Chinese troops of Moldo Garrison.
●    During the day long exercise on Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) a fictitious situation of earthquake striking an Indian Border village was painted. Thereafter joint teams carried out rescue operations, evacuation and rendering of medical assistance.
●    The Indian Team for the exercise was led by Brigadier RS Raman and that of the Chinese was led by Sr Col Fan Jun. 
●    The exercise was a great success and has not only refined the drills to provide succor to the border population in case of natural calamity but has also increased the level of trust and cooperation between the two border guarding forces along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.
●    The joint exercise, compliments the Hand in Hand series of the India -China joint exercises and the effort of both the nations to enhance cooperation and maintain peace and tranquility along the border areas of India and China.

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Rosneft Essar Deal to Open New Routes for India

Russia's Rosneft Oil Company and its partners on 15 October 2016 acquired India’s second biggest private oil firm Essar Oil in an all-cash deal valued at about 13 billion US dollars.
●    Rosneft will have a 49 percent stake in Essar Oil’s refinery, port and petrol pumps.
●    Trafigura Group Pte and United Capital Partners will split 49 percent equity equally. 
●    The remaining 2 percent is held by minority shareholders after delisting of Essar Oil.
●    The deal includes 10.9 billion US dollars for Essar Oil’s Vadinar refinery of Essar Group and 2 billion US dollars for a port terminal that helps feed refinery. 
●    It also includes Essar Oil’s debt of 4.5 billion US dollars and about 2 billion US dollars debt with the Port Company and power plant. 
●    Essar Oil has a portfolio of onshore and offshore oil & gas blocks with about 1.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent in reserves & resources.
●    The company was established in 1969.
●    Essar Group is led by Shashi Ruia and Ravi Ruia.

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BRICS Meet Goa Declaration Pledges to Fight Terror

The 8th BRICS summit ended here on Sunday with the adoption of the Goa Declaration which pledged opposition to terrorism, even as India failed to get a consensus on references to “cross-border terror” and Pakistan-based terror groups in the final statement.
●    The text of the declaration did not name any country specifically as the source of cross-border terrorism but officials maintained that India did get the diplomatic edge it wanted from the summit.
●    Reflecting international concern, the Goa Declaration of the BRICS summit, which concluded here on Sunday, pointed out the need for countering the Islamic State which has occupied territories in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.
●    The declaration called for resolution of the civil war in Syria, in accordance with the “legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria” and sought action against U.N.-designated terrorist groups like IS and Jabhat al-Nusra.


 

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India-Hungary : 2 Agreements Signed

India and Hungary on 16 October 2016 signed two agreements to enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries.
●    The first agreement is for cooperation in the field of water resources, including innovations in irrigation technology. 
●    The second agreement is for promotion of co-operation between Indian Council of World Affairs and its Hungarian counterpart.
●    The two agreements were inked in Budapest during Vice President, Mohammad Hamid Ansari's visit to that country. 
●    Vice President is on a two-nation tour to Hungary and Algeria.
●    During the visit, Vice President had bilateral discussions with Hungary's Prime Minister Victor Orban and other leaders. 
●    He also met the Hungarian President Janos Ader and the Speaker of National Assembly.


 

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BRICS Agree to Set Up Credit Rating Agency

The five-nation group BRICS agreed to set up an independent rating agency based on market-oriented principles, saying it would further strengthen the global governance architecture.
●    “We believe that BRICS institution-building is critical to our shared vision of transforming the global financial architecture to one based on the principles of fairness and equity,” the declaration stated. “...to further bridge the gap in the global financial architecture, we agreed to fast-track the setting up of a BRICS Rating Agency,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement at the conclusion of the BRICS Summit.
●    Batting for a rating agency backed by BRICS, New Development Bank president K.V. Kamath had expressed concerns over methodologies of the three global agencies (S&P, Fitch, Moody’s) saying that these constrain growth in emerging nations. He had said that ratings of multilateral banks like the BRICS-promoted NDB were affected by the parent countries’ ratings, despite having deep capital buffers.

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