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India-Russia 17th Bilateral Tie - S-400 missiles, Information Security, Energy deal

India and Russia on 15 October 2016 signed 16 agreements during India-Russia Annual Summit across multiple sectors. 
●    The MoUs were signed in Goa during India-Russia Annual Summit co-chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Putin is on a visit to India to attend 2016 Goa BRICS summit.
●    Following MoU took place:  
●    MoU on studying perspectives for cooperation in shipbuilding, implementation of infrastructure projects, transfer of technologies and training foreign specialists.
●    MoU on Cooperation in the implementation of smart cities program in India with the use of IT solutions of the Russian companies.
●    MoU on the joint study of a gas pipeline to India and the other possible areas of Cooperation.
●    Rosneft to purchase 98% Essar Oil.
●    Cooperation Agreement in the area of Education and Training.
●    MoU on setting up of Investment Fund: It was inked between NIIF and RDIF.
●    Signing of MoU for Cooperation in increasing the speed of trains between Nagpur- Secundrabad / Hyderabad.
●    MoU on Mutual Allocation of Ground Measurement Gathering Stations for GLONASS AND NAvIC.
●    MoU on expansion of Bilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation.


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India, Russia to Set up 25 Agro Irradiation Centres

India and Russia on 13 October 2016 signed a bilateral agreement for cooperation in the development of a network of integrated infrastructure irradiation centres.
●    The agreement was signed between the Indian Agricultural Association, Hindustan Agro Co-Op Ltd (HACL) and United Innovation Corporation (UIC), a subsidiary of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation of Russia.
●    It was signed by Bharat Dhokane Pandurang, Chairman of HACL and Denis Cherednichenko, CEO of UIC.
●    It will be implemented through a Joint Venture and aims to set up 25 integrated irradiation centres. 
●    In the first phase, seven centres will be set up in Maharashtra, which will begin with the upgradation of the current centre at Rahuri in Ahmednagar district.
●    The 7 centres are likely to be established in Sindhurg, Satara, Solapur, JNPT, Jalana, Napur and Pune in the first phase. 
●    UIC will be a technology partner and will help set up the irradiation centres in India. 

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Putin, Modi to Inaugurate work on Kudankulam Nuclear Reactors

The Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu may soon be one of the biggest in the world after the foundations for Unit 3 and 4 are laid on Saturday and MoUs for Unit 5 and 6 are signed. 
●    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated Unit 3 and 4 via video-conferencing from Goa, where Putin has arrived for the Brics Summit.
●    Once the plant reaches full capacity it will share the fifth position in terms of power generation with Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine. 
●    The Ukraine plant already generates a net capacity of 5,700MW and a gross capacity of 6,000MW. 
●    Once completely set up, the Kudankulam plant will generate 6,000 MW of power as well. 
●    The Tamil Nadu plant will be the biggest in South Asia once it reaches full capacity.
●    Currently, the Tamil Nadu plant has a capacity of 2,000 MW and stands at the 10th position in terms of power generation.


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China and Bangladesh ink 27 agreements

Bangladesh and China have agreed to elevate their cooperation to “strategic partnership” during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the South Asian country on Friday.
●    The two countries have also agreed to jointly advance China’s ‘belt and road initiative’ and establish “institutional cooperation” in areas of maritime issues and counter-terrorism.
●    Mr. Xi’s milestone visit to Dhaka, first in 30 years by a Chinese president, also witnessed the signing of 26 agreements on different sectors.
●    Ms. Hasina said the agreements have created a platform for “our two countries to cooperate at a higher plane.”
●    She hoped that with cooperation from China, Bangladesh will be able to reach its goal to become a middle-income country by 2021, and wished that the friendship between the two countries will grow stronger.

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World Powers to Try Again for Syria Ceasefire

Despite repeated setbacks on the path to peace in war-wracked Syria, the United States and Russia will give diplomacy another chance, as Washington convenes international talks in Europe this weekend to try to secure a ceasefire that sticks.
●    The meetings come after Syria was plunged into some of the worst violence it has seen, as government forces backed by Russian airpower push a brutal assault on rebel-held eastern Aleppo.
●    Fresh air strikes in Aleppo on Wednesday left at least seven dead.
●    In the Swiss city, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov should be joined by their counterparts from Turkey and Gulf countries.
●    Lavrov named Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — all backers of Syrian opposition forces — as possible participants. 
●    French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Putin to push for a ceasefire, despite the repeated setbacks.

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Maldives Quits Commonwealth

The Maldives on Thursday pulled out of the Commonwealth calling as “unjust” the grouping’s decision to penalise the island nation over the circumstances that led to then President Mohamed Nasheed’s ouster in 2012 and the lack of subsequent progress in resolving the political unrest.
●    The Maldives Foreign Ministry termed “difficult” but “inevitable” the decision to leave the Commonwealth, a grouping of 53 nations that were mostly territories of the former British Empire.
●    Last month, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), had warned Maldives of suspension from the bloc expressing its “deep disappointment” over the country’s lack of progress in resolving the political crisis.
●    Severely critical of Commonwealth, the Maldives said in the name of promotion of democracy, the grouping used the country to increase the organisation’s own relevance and leverage in international politics.

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India - Indonesia bilateral maritime exercise at Belawan, Indonesia

In a demonstration of India's commitment to its ties with Indonesia and to the maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region, Indian Naval Ship Karmuk, an indigenously built missile corvette, based under the Andaman and Nicobar Command, alongwith a Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, is participating in the 28th India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol and Second Bilateral Maritime Exercise, scheduled from 10-27 Oct 16 in the Andaman Sea.
●    Defence relations between India and Indonesia have been growing steadily with regular joint activities and interactions between the Armed Forces of the two countries. The two navies have been carrying out Coordinated Patrols (CORPAT) on respective sides of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2002, with the aim of keeping this vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping, International trade and legitimate marine activities. The CORPAT has strengthened understanding and interoperability between the two navies and promoted net maritime security in the region.
●    The bilateral cooperation has increased significantly with the scheduling of the Second Bilateral Maritime Exercise alongwith the 28th edition of the CORPAT. The Opening Ceremony at Belawan, Indonesia from 10-13 Oct 16 is being attended by Commodore Girish Kumar Garg, the Naval Component Commander of the Tri Service Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) based at Port Blair. The Bilateral Maritime Exercise and the CORPAT would see participation by one warship and one Maritime Patrol Aircraft from each Navy.
●    These interactions would also provide opportunities for extensive operational and training engagements, and contribute substantively to the maintenance of good order at sea. The Exercise seeks to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and Indonesia, and underscore India's partnership and solidarity with friendly countries of the region.


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Russia, Turkey Agree to Intensify military, intelligence Contacts

●    They also have agreed on the need for aid to get to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
●    Decision in this regard was taken after meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin on sidelines of World Energy Congress in Istanbul.
●    The two countries also have signed a deal to construct two Turk Stream gas pipeline pipelines to send Russian gas under the Black Sea to Turkey.
●    Turkey will use one pipeline for its domestic consumption and the other will supply southeastern Europe, bypassing Ukraine.
●    This was the first time Russian President Putin visited Turkey after their relations were strained after Turkey, a NATO member had downed a Russian war plane in November 2015 alongside the Syrian border.
●    Understanding the behaviour of these glaciers and their contribution to the sustainable supply of water for mankind and agriculture is one of the grand challenges of Indian scientific community.

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US Lifts Economic Sanctions on Myanmar

The U.S. on 7 October 2016 lifted sanctions against Myanmar that have been in place for nearly two decades.
●    The move came after President Barack Obama’s announcement that the US was ready to lift sanctions on the Asian country during Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Washington in September 2016.
●    As a result of Obama’s announcement, the Treasury Department stated that the economic and financial sanctions administered by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control were no longer in effect.
●    Lifting economic and financial sanctions will support trade and economic growth in Myanmar.
●    Treasury will continue to work with Burma to implement a robust anti-money laundering regime that will help to ensure the security of its financial system.
●    The Government of Myanmar was under economic sanctions by the US Treasury Department.


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MoU with EU on Water Cooperation Approved

The Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for the signing of MoU between India and European Union in the field of water resources.
●    The MoU envisages strengthening the technological, scientific and management capabilities of India and the European Union in the field of water management on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit. It provides technical exchange on water issues, including on integrated water resource management plans within river basins and through study visits.
●    The MoU aims to identify key environmental issues and approaches to sustainable development where exchange of experiences and cooperation could be mutually beneficial to strengthen and further develop cooperation between India and the European Union in the field of water management. It envisions a more sustainable management of water resources in India with an objective of tackling the challenges posed by water management in the context of growing population, competing water demands and a changing climate. A Joint Working Group shall be formed to monitor the activities to be carried out in fulfillment of the MoU.
●    The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has been envisaging bilateral cooperation with other countries in water resources development and management through sharing of policy and technical expertise, conducting of training courses, workshops, scientific and technical symposia, exchange of experts and study tours. 
●    Keeping in view the success of the European Union in distribution of water resources, water pricing, water use efficiency by encouraging the changes in agricultural practices necessary to protect water resources and quality, such as switching to less water-demanding crops, etc., it has been decided to have an agreement with Israel to benefit from their experience and expertise. The EU States have adopted water pricing policies to provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently thereby contributing to environmental objectives.


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