Naval co-operation between India, US and Japan epitomises the strong and resilient relationship between the three democracies. The Malabar Exercise series, initiated in 1992 between the Indian and US Navies, have steadily grown in scope, complexity and participation into a multifaceted exercise with the participation of Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF).
Details of Malabar Exercise 2017
- The 21st edition of the exercise, MALABAR-17 will be conducted in the Bay of Bengal from 10 to 17 July 2017.
- The primary aim of this exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the three navies as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
- The scope of MALABAR-17 includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase at Chennai and a diverse range of operational activities at sea.
- The thrust of exercises at sea this year would be on Aircraft Carrier operations, Air Defence, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Warfare, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), Search and Rescue, Joint Manoeuvres and Tactical procedures.
Indian Navy – Malabar Exercise
The Indian Navy will be represented by the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya with its air wing, guided missile destroyer Ranvir, indigenous stealth frigates Shivalik and Sahyadri, indigenous ASW corvette Kamorta, missile corvettes Kora and Kirpan, one Sindhughosh class submarine, fleet tanker INS Jyoti and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I.
Conclusion | Malabar Exercise
MALABAR-17 will be another milestone with participation of 16 ships, two submarines and more than 95 aircraft, towards strengthening mutual confidence and inter-operability as well as sharing of best practices between the Indian, Japanese and US Navies. The exercise is a demonstration of the joint commitment of all three nations to address common maritime challenges across the spectrum of operations and will go a long way in enhancing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region, for the benefit of the global maritime community.
The Ministry of Shipping, in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, has announced reforms to the regulatory processes governing the Cruise Tourism industry in the country.
Objective – Cruise Tourism
- The objective is to revolutionize this industry which has a high employment generation potential, by simplifying the rules and procedures pertaining to various aspects of cruise port operations like security, immigration, and customs.
- The promotion of cruise tourism requires not just improvement in infrastructure but also uniformity, transparency and predictability in the procedures followed by multiple government organizations. In other words, Ease of Doing Business is critical for the success of cruise tourism.
Details – Cruise Tourism
The reforms are based on the recommendations of a global consultant engaged by the Ministry to draw up an Action Plan for providing a customer friendly and hassle free logistics process for the cruise tourism industry and develop an enabling ecosystem necessary to promote and sustain cruise shipping in India.
Recommendations of consultant to streamline Cruise Tourism
- Single window system for all pre cruise requirements for cruise operators like entry of vehicles, personnel and guides electronically doing away with checking of registration, license papers of vehicle at each time.
- Create a separate dedicated approach road and entrance to the cruise terminals.
- A uniform and consistent security procedures by CISF at all ports.
- Providing adequate security and access to the port for passenger over-night and visiting local venues.
- No face to face check after dis-embarking formalities.
- Security checks for embarking passengers would be done only once.
- Joint collaboration between the Bureau of Immigration and CISF and redesign the existing procedure to give a pleasant experience to the cruise tourists visiting India.
- Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) to be framed for training and education of the personnel carrying out the process for better handling of passengers.
- Use of technology for clearances, providing passenger manifest to CISF and doing away with manual time consuming process.
- Implementation of green lane/red lane at existing terminals with random custom checking as is done in the airport.
- Declaration of only limited items of inventory of the cruise ships in place of the existing requirement of having the complete inventory for all the stocks in the ship.
A committee has been set up to work out the modalities and requirements for implementing the above recommendations in a time bound manner.
Taking forward the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy 2016, a Scheme for IPR Awareness – Creative India Innovative India was launched by Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) under the aegis of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
Creative India Innovative India | Details
- The Scheme aims at raising IPR awareness amongst students, youth, authors, artists, budding inventors and professionals to inspire them to create, innovate and protect their creations and inventions across India including Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 cities as well as rural areas in the next 3 years.
- The Scheme for IPR Awareness aims to conduct over 4000 IPR awareness workshops/seminars in academic institutions (schools and colleges) and the industry,including MSMEs and Start-ups, as also IP training and sensitization programmes for enforcement agencies and the judiciary.
- Workshops will cover all vital IP topics including international filing procedures, promotion of Geographical Indications and highlighting the ill effects of piracy and counterfeiting.
- The Scheme for IPR Awareness would be implemented through partner organizations to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
Highlights of National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, 2016
- The new policy calls for providing financial support to the less empowered groups of IP owners or creators such as farmers, weavers and artisans through financial institutions like rural banks or co-operative banks offering IP-friendly loans.
- The work done by various ministries and departments will be monitored by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), which will be the nodal department to coordinate, guide and oversee implementation and future development of IPRs in India.
- The policy, with a tagline of Creative India: Innovative India, also calls for updating various intellectual property laws, including the Indian Cinematography Act, to remove anomalies and inconsistencies in consultation with stakeholders.
- For supporting financial aspects of IPR commercialisation, it asks for financial support to develop IP assets through links with financial institutions, including banks, VC funds, angel funds and crowd-funding mechanisms.
- To achieve the objective of strengthening enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms to combat IPR infringements, it called for taking actions against attempts to treat generic drugs as spurious or counterfeit and undertake stringent measures to curb manufacture and sale of misbranded, adulterated and spurious drugs.
- The policy will be reviewed after every five years to keep pace with further developments in the sector.
- IPR friendly loans to less empowered groups like artisans, weavers etc.
- Motivating industries to use CSR funds to support IP development.
Following is the text of Beijing Declaration On Education adopted in the 5th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education in Beijing, China, on July 5th, 2017.
Details | Beijing Declaration
- Committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4)-Education 2030 which aims to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all” that was set within The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Recognizing the significance of collaboration in the field of education for enhancing the overall partnership among BRICS Member States and enhancing people to people exchanges to a higher level.
The Beijing Declaration
For ensuring coordinated and deeper cooperation among the Member States, hereby declare to –
- Reiterate support for the BRICS Network University (NU) to collaborate in the fields of education, research and innovation. Encourage universities to participate in the BRICS University League.
- Increase cultural cooperation through language education and multilingualism to promote mutual understanding of the history and culture of BRICS Member States.
- Undertake initiatives to promote professionalization of academics in higher education through the BRICS Network University as a focus of future education development.
- Encourage more teachers and educational administrators to learn from experience of other countries in improving teacher quality and performance, and promoting the development of education through international exchanges.
- Strengthen cooperation in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), share ideas and experiences in the development of vocational educators, and develop projects that are of common interests to BRICS Member States.
- Recognize the importance of BRICS Think Tanks Council (BTTC), BRICS Network University as well as other BRICS initiatives, and encourage the streamlining of mechanisms for their closer cooperation to ensure the alignment of their work.
- Emphasize the importance of streamlining the cooperation among educational think tanks and education researchers, and welcome China’s invitation to host a conference to explore possible cooperation among the various entities in BRICS Member States.
- Encourage the organization of “youth winter/summer camps” to reinforce communication and cultural exchanges among the young generation from BRICS Member States.
- Encourage Member States to expand the number of scholarship opportunities to students across BRICS Member States.
- Share the experience and practices in achieving the SDG4-Education 2030 targets in order to foster a more favourable policy environment, adopt effective practices, and advocate for global educational policies that take into account the common concern and priorities of the BRICS Member States.
- Encourage the participation in the 3rd BRICS NU Annual Conference to be held in 2018, in Cape Town, South Africa and in the BRICS Global Business and Innovation Conference to be held in September 2017, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The territorial and boundary dispute between Indo-China is a complex, historical, multi-layered wrangle across a sprawling 3,500-kilometre-long border.
What is the current Indo-China issue?
- At issue is sovereignty over a scenic, 4,000-metrehigh pasture called Doklam — less than 100 square kilometres in spread.
- India claims that the Chumbi Valley, a dagger shaped wedge of Chinese territory protruding southward from the Tibetan plateau, ends north of Doklam at the Batang La pass.
- China asserts ownership of Doklam, too, claiming the boundary runs south of the pasture, along the dominating Gyemo Chen mountain, which China calls Mount Gipmochi.
- Complicating this otherwise straightforward dispute is Bhutan, since the tri-junction of the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan boundary falls here. Bhutan’s claims are supportive of India’s.
History of border disputes between Indo-China
- The 1962 war was sparked off near Ziminthang by disagreement over whether the boundary ran along the Thagla Ridge, as India claimed, or along the Hathungla ridgeline to its south, as China contended.
- The 1986 Sumdorong Chu confrontation, which saw India moving tens of thousands of troops to the trouble spot, was over the tiny Thangdrong grazing ground near Tawang, with India claiming the watershed ran north of that meadow, and China claiming it was to the south.
- At Walong, too, at the eastern end of the Indo-China boundary, disagreement centres on which ridgeline constitutes the watershed.
Concerns of India
- Many of the 14 sub-disputes on the LAC are over relatively inconsequential grazing grounds and meadows. However, the on-going standoff at tri-junction, at the southern tip of the Chumbi Valley, is over territory that both Beijing and New Delhi regard as strategically important.
- Indian military planners worry that letting Beijing extend the boundary southwards to Mount Gipmochi would bring China closer to the Siliguri corridor.
- Assuming that China obtained control over the Siliguri corridor, India could simply bypass the corridor, moving through Nepal or Bangladesh.
Chumbi Valley – China’s vulnerability
- Of all China’s border vulnerabilities, the Chumbi Valley is perhaps the greatest. It is a narrow salient overlooked by Indian defences, which can cut off the valley from Tibet by wheeling east from north Sikkim.
- Strategists regard the capture of the Chumbi Valley as an obvious wartime target for India’s “mountain strike corps” when it is operational. By extending the Chumbi Valley southwards, therefore, China would only be expanding a key vulnerability.
Chinese argument over Doklam plateau
- China’s foreign ministry spokesperson spelt out in tedious detail last week, the 1890 Anglo-Chinese Convention Relating to Sikkim and Tibet specifically mentioned Mount Gipmochi as tri-junction of China, India and Bhutan. True, Beijing rejects as “colonial impositions” other British era agreements, like the 1914 Simla Convention that birthed the McMahon Line. But, there is a difference — China actually signed the 1890 agreement, and not the 1914 one.
- Beijing also argues that Jawaharlal Nehru endorsed the 1890 agreement in a 1959 letter to Zhou Enlai.
- Beijing also cites a pastureland claim over Doklam, arguing that the yak graziers of Yadong have long held grazing rights over Doklam, and that graziers from Bhutan paid a “grass tax” to Yadong graziers if they wanted to herd there.
- China’s foreign ministry claims the Tibet Archives still possess “grass tax” receipts from earlier times. The grazier argument is a powerful one in border lands peopled by nomadic herders. Both China and India use it to back their territorial claims in other disputed sectors.
Current position of India
- Although Beijing has made Indian withdrawal a precondition for de-escalating the Doklam faceoff, Indian forces are showing no sign of blinking.
- Over the preceding decade, India’s defensive posture has been greatly stiffened by raising two new divisions in the Northeast; an armoured brigade each for Ladakh and the Northeast; a mountain strike corps currently being raised and major improvements in India’s air defence and air strike capabilities.
- Whereas once, China bullied India on the LAC and — as it is attempting in Doklam — built roads, tracks and bunkers as “facts on the ground” to consolidate its position in any future negotiation; today the Indian Army is rightly willing to, and capable of, physically blocking such attempts.
There has been no shooting on the Indo-China LAC since 1975, a peace bolstered by the successful “Peace and Tranquillity Agreement” that New Delhi and Beijing signed in 1993. Paradoxically, India’s pro-active Indo-China LAC stance is creating incentives in Beijing for a LAC settlement. Yet, calibrating the aggression and managing each patrol confrontation remain tricky balancing acts. Until a Indo-China LAC agreement comes about, New Delhi must develop the instruments and expertise needed for managing such crises.
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The first ever Industry-Academia mission to accelerate biopharmaceutical development in India will be formally launched in New Delhi on 30th June 2017.
Details | Biopharma
- The program named Innovate in India (i3) will witness an investment of USD 250 million with USD 125 million as a loan from World Bank and is anticipated to be a game changer for the Indian Biopharmaceutical industry.
- It aspires to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the sector.
- i3 is committed to addressing these gaps with a Mission to make India a hub for design and development of novel, affordable and effective biopharmaceutical products and solutions.
- The Mission to be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public Sector Undertaking of Department of Biotechnology will bring together expertise from national and international corridors to provide strategic guidance and direction to move promising solutions through the product development value chain.
Aim | Biopharma
The aim of the Mission is to “Enable and nurture an ecosystem for preparing India’s technological and product development capabilities in biopharmaceuticals to a level that will be globally competitive over the next decade, and transform the health standards of India’s population through affordable product development”
Significance | Biopharma
- As a flagship program of the Government of India in collaboration with World Bank, it promises to boost the growth curve for domestic biopharma in India by accelerating the translation of research concepts into viable products, supporting clinical validation, enabling sustainable networks for collaboration between industry and academia, and supporting entrepreneurial ecosystem amongst many others. Currently India has only 2.8% share in the global biopharmaceutical market, the program would elevate this to 5% resulting in an additional business opportunity of 16 Billion USD.
- The Mission will provide a holistic and integrated approach to strengthen and support the entire product development value chain for accelerating the research leads to product development. This will help not only in immediate product development addressing public health needs, but will also help to create an ecosystem which will facilitate development of a continuous pipeline of products.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to fourth tranche recommendations of NITI Aayog on strategic disinvestment of CPSE (strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries) based on the recommendations of Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment (CGD).
- ‘In principle’ approval for considering strategic Air India disinvestment and five of its subsidiaries.
- Constitution of an Air India-specific Alternative Mechanism headed by Minister of Finance including Minister for Civil Aviation and such other Minister(s) to guide the process on strategic disinvestment from time to time and decide the following –
- Treatment of unsustainable debt of Air India;
- Hiving off of certain assets to a shell company;
- Demerger and strategic disinvestment of three profit-making subsidiaries;
- The quantum of disinvestment; and
- The universe of bidders.
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The Union Cabinet in its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.
- This will benefit the country in conserving water for future generations.
- The two countries shall work to enhance cooperation at the national, regional and international level to design, implement and monitor a professionally-designed National Water Conservation Campaign in India.
The proposed MoU will help India and Israel to cooperate in water conservation. It would –
- Put water conservation on the national agenda in India.
- Encourage every citizen to save water in everyday life.
- Generating awareness about water.
- Promoting Re-use, Recharge and Recycling of water.
- Development of digital tools such as websites, mobile applications on the subject of water conservation.
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ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C38 successfully launched the 712 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites today from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty ninth consecutively successful mission of PSLV.
Details of the satellites
- One of the 30 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C38 was the 15 kg NIUSAT, a University/Academic Institute satellite from Nurul Islam University, Tamil Nadu, India.
- The remaining 29 co-passenger satellites carried were international customer satellites from
- USA (10),
- United Kingdom (3),
- Belgium (3),
- Italy (3),
- Austria (1),
- Chile (1),
- Czech Republic (1),
- Finland (1),
- France (1),
- Germany (1),
- Japan (1),
- Latvia (1),
- Lithuania (1) and
- Slovakia (1).
With today’s successful launch, the total number of customer satellites from abroad placed in orbit by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV has reached 209.
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Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India is all set to launch ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ by January 2018. This will improve India’s position in ocean research field.
Background | Deep Ocean Mission
- The program on Polymetallic nodules was initiated at CSIR-NIO with the collection of the first nodule sample from Arabian Sea on board the first Research Vessel Gaveshani on 26 January 1981.
- India was the first country in the world to have been given the Pioneer Area for exploration of deep-sea mineral viz. Polymetallic nodules in the Central Indian Ocean Basin in 1987.
- This was based on the extensive surveys carried out by the scientists of CSIR-NIO, on several research ships leading to the allocation of an area of 150,000 sq km to the country with exclusive rights under the UN Law of the sea.
Details | Deep Ocean Mission
- Based on the resource evaluation, India has now retained an area of 75,000 sq km with an estimated resource of about 100 million tons of strategic metals such Copper, Nickel, Cobalt besides Manganese and Iron.
- A First Generation Mine-site (FGM) with an area of 18,000 sq km has been identified. Latest technologies for extraction of metals from the minerals have also been developed under the programme.
- Detailed environmental data has been collected for compliance with International Seabed Authorities requirements.
- Besides identifying the mineral resource and developing technologies for mining and extraction, the programme has also resulted in high impact research as well as manpower development.
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