GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

India Re-Elected As Member Of International Maritime Council For Two Years.

Background-

  • India has been re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under Category “B” at the 30th session of the Assembly of the IMO held in London on December 1, 2017.
  • The IMO Council consists of 40 member countries. In Categories “A” and “B” there are 10 members each and in Cateogary “C” 20 members, who are elected by the IMO Assembly.
  • IMO Council plays a crucial role in deciding various important matters within the mandate of the IMO, in relation to the global shipping industry, including its work programme strategy and budget.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • Unlike in the past where India was re-elected to the IMO Council un-opposed, this time, for the 10 seats under Category “B” two new entrants, i.e. UAE, a non-member of the IMO Council so far and Australia, presently a member of the IMO Council under Category “C” had filed their nomination and this had necessitated holding of the election. India, however, emerged a winner in the keenly contested election.
  • The 30th Session of the IMO Assembly is being held at IMO Headquarters London from 27 November to 06 December, 2017. The Assembly session is being attended by a high level Indian delegation led by Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways.
  • India has a large merchant marine fleet of 1359 vessels, both on foreign going and coastal operations, with a combined Gross Tonnage of 12.2 million. Nearly 90% of India’s overseas trade by volume is carried through maritime transport. Nearly 92% of these goods are carried through foreign flag vessels.
  • With the Indian economy poised to grow at a faster pace, there exist more opportunities for both the Indian and foreign flag vessels, to carry large volumes of goods, to and from the Indian coasts. India has a strong contingent of more than 145,000 active seafarers who continue to be the preferred choice for specialized vessels.
  • India has been one of the earliest members of the IMO, having ratified its Convention and joined it as a member-state in the year 1959. India has had the privilege of being elected to and serving the Council of the IMO, ever since it started functioning, and till date, except for two years for the period 1983-1984.
  • India is a party to 34 IMO Conventions and protocols and is currently in the advanced stage of ratifying Ballast Water Convention and Bunker Convention. India has already deposited with the ILO, instrument of ratification of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention (revised), 2003 and Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.

Sources- India.com.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

India Donates 500 Metric Tonnes Of Rice To Lesotho.

 

Background

  • India 29th November, 2017 donated 500 metric tonnes of rice to the Kingdom of Lesotho, in Southern Africa, which is facing acute food shortage due to famine.
  • High Commissioner of India to South Africa and Lesotho, Ruchira Kamboj handed over the donation to the government of Lesotho, a tiny landlocked kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa, after she presented her credentials to King Letsie III in the country’s capital, Maseru.
  • Kamboj said that this gift of rice is a manifestation of the concern of the people of India for the people of Lesotho and their desire to help their brothers and sisters mitigate the devastating effects of food shortages caused by famine and other acts of nature.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • India has appointed a single concurrent High Commissioner for South Africa and Lesotho since diplomatic relations with South Africa were resumed in 1994 after a break of more than four decades, during which India led the international fight against the minority white apartheid government.
  • Kamboj, who previously served in South Africa as Consul General in Cape Town, presented her credentials to President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria in August 2017.
  • During her visit to Maseru, the High Commissioner also called on the Acting Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki and Deputy Foreign Minister Halebonoe.
  • Kamboj also inaugurated the India-Lesotho Centre for Advanced Information Technology, a project fully-funded by the Government of India, at the Lerotholi Polytechnic in Maseru.
  • The construction of the new building to house the Centre was completed recently.
  • Relations between India and Lesotho have been marked by an exchange of visits between the two countries at the political and official levels as well as a growing economic partnership bolstered by people-to-people exchanges through cultural exchange programmes, education and training to provide a firm foundation to the relationship.
  • The third meeting of the India-Lesotho Joint Bilateral Cooperation Commission was held in New Delhi on December 1, 2017.
  • The focus will be on to deepen and diversify the relationship by identifying new synergetic areas for cooperation and collaboration.

Sources- Indiatoday.

 

GS Paper III- Security.

Russia Aims To Deliver 200 Ka-226T Military Choppers To India In 9 Years.

Background

  • Russia aims to deliver 200 Kamov 226T or Ka-226T military choppers to India within nine years, even as the commercial contract for the same is expected to be signed early next year (2018).
  • Andrey Boginsky, CEO, Russian Helicopters said that they are in the final stage of signing the contract with the Ministry of Defence.
  • According to the firm, the joint venture between Russian Helicopters, which is part of Rostec Corporation, and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), for co-development and co-production of the Ka-226T multi-role military choppers, will be able to complete the delivery in nine years.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The inter-governmental agreement (IGA) was signed in 2015 during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Moscow. Thereafter, the joint venture was registered this year around June between Russian Helicopters and HAL. According to the original plan, the commercial contract was expected to be signed in November-December this year.
  • Under the programme, India will be procuring 60 light utility helicopters in flyaway condition that will be produced in the Ulan-Ude plant of Russian Helicopters, while 40 will be assembled in the proposed plant set up by the joint venture, while the remaining 100 will be completely made in India.
  • According to sources, HAL has already begun construction of a new manufacturing production plant that will also produce the Kamovs.
  • HAL will have stake of 50.5 per cent in the joint venture, while Russian Helicopters will hold 49.5 per cent of the capital.
  • However, the Russians will be responsible for helicopter production localisation, except the components that will be imported from an OEM, stated Dmitry Shvets, Programme Director of Ka-226T helicopter, Russian Helicopters.
  • Shvets said localisation will be done in four stages. Additionally, the joint venture will create repair and maintenance facilities within five years and major overhaul facilities in India within seven years after the delivery of the first batch of helicopters.

Sources- The Hindu Business Line.