IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


28th February, 2020


India to carry out projects in Rakhine

Decisions during the state visit of President U Win Myint of Myanmar:

-       India will carry out more development projects in the Rakhine province of Myanmar.

-       Both sides agreed to expedite a set of 12 projects in Rakhine under the second phase of the Rakhine State Development Programme as part of the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation mechanism.

-       One of the main purpose of India’s developmental work in Rakhine is creating hospitable conditions for the return of the Rohingya community.

Mekong-Ganga cooperation:

-       The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) is an initiative by six countries – India and five ASEAN countries, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications.

-       It was launched in 2000 at Vientiane, Lao PDR.

-       Both the Ganga and the Mekong are civilizational rivers, and the MGC initiative aims to facilitate closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins.

-       The MGC is also indicative of the cultural and commercial linkages among the member countries of the MGC down the centuries.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-to-carry-out-projects-in-rakhine/article30937231.ece

India gets invite for U.S.-Taliban deal event

India has been invited to witness the ceremony to seal the peace deal between the U.S. and Taliban in Qatari capital Doha.

About US- Taliban deal:

-       Around 24 countries are expected to participate in the ceremony where the deal will be signed.

India's role in Afghan peace process:

-       India’s participation as a witness would depend on the stance of the Government of President Ashraf Ghani.

-       India has a  position that the peace negotiation should be “Afghan owned, Afghan led and Afghan controlled.

-       Participation from the Afghan government in the ceremony will indicate that the U.S.-Taliban deal will ultimately take an inclusive turn.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-gets-invite-for-us-taliban-deal-event/article30935251.ece


There remain trade barriers in place

India-Australian Trade relations:

-       Both countries are very much remained “open for business”.

-       Canberra had announced an additional A$1 million to keep selling packages around the T20 World Cup events.

-       Bilateral trade and investment across resource, agribusiness, tourism and higher education services sectors are expected to get a boost.

-       Australia is pushing forward with implementing its ‘India Economic Strategy’ (IES).

-       During India-Australia Business Exchange, a 120-strong business delegation visiting India this week, would help spread awareness about investment opportunities and the business landscape in this country.

Trade Partnership:

-       India was Australia's eighth-largest trading partner and fifth-largest export market in 2018-19, driven by coal and higher education.

-       Two-way goods and services trade with India was $30.3 billion.

-       The ambition behind the IES is to expand Australian exports to India from $14.9 billion in 2017 to around $45 billion and outward Australian investment to India from $10.3 billion to over $100 billion.

-       Australia want to be a trusted, valued supplier of resources and energy to meet the growing needs of Indian industry and manufacturing.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/there-remain-trade-barriers-in-place/article30935170.ece

Telcos seek help on ‘priority basis’

Telecoms demand:

-       Telecoms have sent an SOS to the government seeking measures on a ‘priority basis’ to facilitate reduction of financial stress in the industry.

-       As individual firms were stretching to make as much payment possible in a stressed financial situation, the government could adjust the GST credit due to the telecoms from the government.

-       It is requested that a moratorium of 3 years be provided, as we expect that it will take at least that much time to recover the health of the sector, followed by a payment tenure of 15 years at a simple interest of 6%.

-       The government may consider granting loan equal to the AGR amount at 6% rate of interest so that the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) liability may be discharged immediately.

-       Reiterated its demand for reduction in licence fee, spectrum usage charges as well as rationalisation of universal service levy.

-       Pitched for implementation of floor price for telecom tariffs April 1, 2020 onwards.

Challenges for Banking sector:

-       Banks are unwilling to take any risk with regard to the telecom sector.

-       There is a need to give a clear message to banks that the government was there to support the sector.

-       The banks are constantly asking telecoms to reduce their exposures by refusing to issue new bank guarantees or even to renew the bank guarantees.

-       Requirement for financial bank guarantees (FBGs) to secure payment of licence fee should be done away with.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/telcos-seek-help-on-priority-basis/article30935400.ece

JNPT seeks priority in DFC

Demand of JNPT:

-       JNPT are demanding to expedite connecting DFC to JNPT to reap benefit from it as early as possible.

-       They have been pushing for it [expediting the project] because if it [DFC] goes to Mundra first then JNPT will be affected in an adverse way.

-       From the government’s point of view, obviously if it [DFC] comes first [to Mundra in Gujarat] they will do that first [provide port connectivity to Mundra].

-       But, original project is meant for JNPT.

About Western dedicated freight corridor:

-       Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) is a broad gauge corridor under construction that will connect Delhi and Mumbai, the national and business capitals of India.

-        In October 2006, the Indian Government established a dedicated body, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL), to carry out the project.

-       The western DFC will separate freight and passenger traffic to increase the speed of freight movement.

-       It will be used to transport fertilisers, food grains, salt, coal, iron & steel and cement.

-       The project will eventually be linked to the Eastern DFC to form four hubs known as India’s Golden Quadrilateral including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

-       The Western dedicated freight corridor will cover a distance of 1,483km (928mi) of double-lane electric track from JNPT to Dadri passing through Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Palanpur, Phulera and Rewari.

-       It is proposed to set up Logistics Parks at Mumbai area, particularly in the vicinity of Kalyan-Ulhasnagar or Vashi-Belapur in Navi Mumbai, Vapi in southern Gujarat, Ahmedabad area in Gujarat, Gandhidham in the Kutch region of Gujarat, Jaipur area in Rajasthan, NCR of Delhi.



Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/jnpt-seeks-priority-in-dfc/article30935462.ece


Lockheed Martin to deliver six MH-60R helicopters to Navy in 2021

-       Lockheed Martin will deliver six MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) to the Indian Navy in 2021 and the order would be completed by 2025.

-       The deal worth around $2.2 billion was signed during the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump.

-       The helicopters are being procured under the ‘Buy (Global)’ Category through Foreign Military Sales route of the U.S.

-       The delivery of the helicopters is planned commencing early 2021 and comes at a time when the Indian Ocean Region is witnessing increasing security threat due to proliferation of submarines.

-       It will be purchased directly from the US government under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the US Department of Defence (DoD).

About MH-60R

-       It is one of the most advanced naval helicopters in the world.

-       It is the most capable and mature Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) multi-mission helicopter available in the world.

-       It is designed to hunt down submarines and will add to the strategic depth and combat capability of the Indian Navy.

-       It is capable of launching Hellfire missiles from the right and left extended pylons.

-       It also has an advanced system for passive detection, location and identification of emitters.

-       These helicopters can be effectively employed for offensive and defensive roles including Anti-Submarine Warfare, anti-ship strike, low intensity maritime operations, search and rescue, over the horizon network centric operations and electronic warfare.

-       These helicopters are replacement for the Sea King 42/42A helicopters already decommissioned in the 1990s

-       They are envisaged to operate from frontline ships and aircraft carriers providing them the critical attributes of flexibility of operation, enhanced surveillance and attacking capability.

-       These helicopter’s has capability of prolonged maritime operations and seamless integration with the P8i and ships at sea makes it a ‘Force Multiplier’.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lockheed-martin-to-deliver-six-mh-60r-copters-to-navy-in-2021/article30935655.ece