international - 2018 JUNE

June 1

Denmark bans burqa in public spaces
The Danish Parliament passed a law banning the Islamic full-face veil in public spaces, becoming the latest European country to do so.
Anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine, the law which was passed by 75 votes to 30.

India signs mutual recognition agreement in nursing with Singapore
It will be easier for domestic nurses to explore employment opportunities in Singapore now, as India has signed Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with the south East Asian nation in this sector.
MRAs pave the way for recognition of the professional bodies of one country by the other. Regulatory bodies of various professional services like engineering, nursing, accountancy and architecture are encouraged to enter into these pacts.
These pacts are part of free trade agreements (FTAs) that India has signed with several regions, including Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Asean. India and Singapore entered into FTA in August 2005.

India, Indonesia elevate ties to establish Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
India and Indonesia issued a joint statement on "Establishing Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’, elevating their existing bilateral ties.
The move followed a bilateral summit between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. The two leaders held extensive talks on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest and provided strategic directions that would further enhance the solid and expanding relations between the two countries.
To enhance the strategic partnership between the two nations, the leaders agreed to hold annual summit meetings, including on the margins of multilateral events. The two sides also signed 15 agreements for cooperation in various areas including defence, trade and economy.

June 2

Orchid named after PM Narendra Modi at National Orchid Garden in Singapore
An orchid was named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mark his visit to the National Orchid Garden of Singapore. Modi is on a three-day visit.
"Dendrobrium Narendra Modi - an orchid named after PM @narendramodi on the occasion of his visit to the National Orchid Garden in Singapore".
Built in 1827, the temple was constructed for worship by immigrants from the Nagapatnam and Cuddalore districts of South India. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, known for her power in curing epidemic illnesses and diseases. The temple is located in the heart of Chinatown.

June 3

Sushma Swaraj in South Africa on 5-day visit
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived on a five-day visit to South Africa during which she will meet top leadership of the country and attend meetings of BRICS and IBSA - the two major groupings where India has been playing a key role.
Swaraj will also attend a series of events marking the 125th anniversary of the historic incident where a young Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a train compartment in Pietermaritzburg railway station.
The 1893 incident proved to be a turning point in Gandhi’s fight against racial discrimination in South Africa.
During the visit, Swaraj will participate in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Foreign Ministers’ meeting which is expected to lay the foundation for the annual summit of the grouping in Johannesburg.
She will also chair a meeting of Foreign Ministers of IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa), another bloc working to deepen coordination among the three countries on major global issues.

June 4

WHO launches Global Action Plan on Physical Activity
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is joining Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal to launch the new "WHO Global action plan on physical activity and health 2018-2030: More active people for a healthier world''.
Being active is critical for health. But in our modern world, this is becoming more and more of a challenge, largely because our cities and communities aren’t designed in the right ways.
Worldwide, one in five adults, and four out of five adolescents (11-17 years), do not do enough physical activity. Girls, women, older adults, poorer people, people with disabilities and chronic diseases, marginalized populations, and indigenous people have fewer opportunities to be active.
Regular physical activity is key to preventing and treating Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. NCDs are responsible for 71% of all deaths globally, including for the deaths of 15 million people per year aged 30 to 70.

June 5

Saudi Arabia issues first driving licences to women
Saudi Arabia has issued its first driving licences for women three weeks before it ends the world’s only ban on female drivers, though are still in jail.
Ten women who held foreign driving licenses were given a health check and brief test behind the wheel before receiving their Saudi permits from the Riydah traffic office. They had been selected from the thousands who have applied, with many more licenses due to be issued by 24 June, when the ban is due to be lifted.
In a country with very limited public transport, the right to drive is an important liberation for women who want to work, meet friends or take their children to school.

Landlocked Ethiopia plans new navy as part of military reforms
Landlocked Ethiopia, which lost its access to the Red Sea nearly three decades ago, plans to build a navy as part of military reforms.
The country disbanded its navy in 1991 after its then-province Eritrea seceded following a three-decade war for independence. It does however have a maritime institute that trains seafarers.
Following the efforts made to build capacity of our national defense, we built one of the strongest ground and air force in Africa.

June 6

Cabinet apprises India-Denmark MoU on sustainable development
The Union Cabinet apprised the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Denmark on technical cooperation in the field of sustainable and smart urban development.
The objective of this MoU is to promote bilateral cooperation in the field of sustainable and smart urban development on the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit through an exchange of knowledge, institutional cooperation, research and commercial relations on related issues.
Under this MoU, a Joint Working Group (JWG) will be set up to strategise and implement programmes on cooperation under the framework of the agreement. It will also promote bilateral cooperation in the field of sustainable and smart urban development between the two countries.

Myanmar, UN sign pact on initial steps for Rohingya return
Myanmar and U.N. agencies signed an agreement that might eventually lead to the return of some of the 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled brutal persecution by the country’s security forces and are now crowded into makeshift camps in Bangladesh.
The memorandum of understanding signed promises to establish a “framework of cooperation” that aims to create the conditions for “voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable” repatriation of Rohingya refugees.
Myanmar’s security forces have been accused of rape, killing, torture and the burning of Rohingya homes. The U.N. and U.S. have described the army crackdown that began in August last year as “ethnic cleansing”.
Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed in November to begin repatriating Rohingya, but refugees feared their lives would be at risk in Myanmar without international monitoring.

June 7

World first EPR nuclear reactor begins work in China
A third generation EPR reactor in China carried out its first nuclear chain reaction, an initial start up which is a world first for the much-delayed European technology.
The European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) in Taishan, southern China "carried out its first chain and therefore it has started", head of new nuclear projects for EDF, which has a 30 per cent holding in two reactors under construction in the city.
Taishan 1 and 2 are the first two reactors based on the EPR design to be built in China. They form part of an EUR8.0 billion (USD9.5 billion) contract signed by Areva and China General Nuclear (CGN) in November 2007. The Taishan project - 140 kilometres west of Hong Kong - is owned by the Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Limited, a joint venture between EDF (30%) and CGN.

India and Norway sign MoU to extend health cooperation
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Norway to extend the cooperation within health sector through the Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) for a period of three years starting from 2018 to 2020. Smt. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) and Mr. ilsRagnarKamsvag, Ambassador of Norway signed the Memorandum of Understanding. Smt. VandanaGurnani, JS (RCH) and officials from the Ministry and counterparts from the Norwegian side were also present during the signing ceremony.
This cooperation between India and Norway is aligned with the development goals of Government of India as outlined in its National Health Policy 2017 for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The cooperation shall also focus on global health issues of common interest.
The partnership shall also include areas related to maternal, new-born, child health, and shall build on experiences from NIPI phase I and II. The cooperation will continue to focus on innovative, catalytic and strategic support, and stride in taking the Indian Government’s Intensification Plan for Accelerated Maternal and Child Survival in India.

IN Ships arrive Guam to participate in Ex-Malabar 2018
Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri, Shakti and Kamorta of the Eastern Fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, NM, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet currently on an overseas deployment to South East Asia and the Western Pacific, arrived at Guam 18 to participate in the 22nd edition of Exercise Malabar, off Guam.
Exercise Malabar, which started as a bilateral exercise between the US Navy and the Indian Navy in 1992, has evolved over the years with the participation of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) from 2007. Over the last 26 years, this Maritime Exercise has grown in scope and complexity and aims at increasing the level of mutual understanding, inter-operability and sharing of the best practices between the three navies.
Malabar 17 was held in July last year on the Eastern Sea Board of India, off Chennai and Visakhapatnam. It is for the first time that the exercise is being conducted off Guam, a major US Naval Base in the Western Pacific. It would be of interest to note that the US has recently named their Hawaii-based Pacific Command as the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
The Indian Navy will be represented by the two indigenously designed and built ships, the multi-purpose stealth frigate INS Sahyadri and Anti-Submarine Warfare corvette, INS Kamorta as also by Fleet Tanker INS Shakti and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I.

June 8

South Africa, Germany, Belgium elected non-permanent UNSC members
The UN General Assembly elected South Africa, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Germany and Belgium as non-permanent members of the powerful Security Council for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2019.
Voting was held in the 193-member General Assembly to fill the seats that will be vacated by Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and Sweden this year.
The five non-permanent members were elected according to the following pattern: two seats for the Group of African states and the Group of Asia-Pacific states, one for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean states, and two seats for Western European and other states.
The Security Council has 15 members, including five permanent ones. The five permanent members, each with the power of veto, are China, France, Russia, the UK and the US. The 10 non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms each.

Indonesia wins UN Security Council vote
The Maldives failed to get elected to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. Maldives and Indonesia had contested for a seat in the UNSC, but in the plenary session of held at the UN headquarters in New York, Indonesia won the seat after securing 144 votes against 46 for the Maldives.
In the election, 190 members participated, and the winning members had to get more than two-thirds majority or 127 votes. Indonesia is likely to take up the seat on January 1, 2019 with other newly elected non-permanent members - Germany, Belgium, Dominican Republic and South Africa.
The Ministry of External Affairs maintained a studied silence on whether India voted against the Maldives.

‘Birth of Satyagraha’: Sushma travels to Pietermaritzburg
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj undertook a train journey from Pentrich to Pietermaritzburg, a railway station in South Africa where a young Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a “Whites-only” compartment 125 years ago.
Ms. Swaraj, who is in South Africa on a five-day visit, also inaugurated a two-sided bust of Gandhiji, called the “Birth of Satyagraha''.

June 10

India considering to bring together 8-10 WTO members to work on future agenda
India is considering to bring together a group of 8-10 member countries of the WTO to prepare an agenda for creation of a conducive atmosphere in Geneva to ensure smooth functioning of the global trade body.
It would be an informal group within the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which may also include countries like Brazil, China, South Africa, China, Indonesia and Columbia.
The official added that the main idea would be to create a proper structured agenda forward which will be acceptable to all countries to reduce the tension today.

India gives Rs 99 million Nepal for installing shallow tube wells
India extended a financial aid of Rs 99 million to Nepal for the construction of 2,700 shallow tube well irrigation systems in 12 districts of the country's southern Terai region to boost agricultural productivity.
The assistance has been extended as part of the final payment for the Nepal-Bharat Maitri Irrigation Project, which was launched in January last year to boost growth to the Himalayan nation's agricultural sector through enhanced facilities.
India's Ambassador to Nepal, Manjeev Singh Puri, handed over a cheque of 99.21 million Nepalese Rs (Indian Rs 61.93 million) to the country's Energy Secretary, Sanjay Sharma, at a function here, according to a press release issued by the Indian Embassy, Kathmandu.
The project aimed at installing 2,700 shallow tube wells in Saptari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara, Parsa, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Rupendehi, Kapilvastu, Dang, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts.

June 11

Nepal Cabinet approves projects including repair of two ‘Friendship Bridges’ that link Nepal and China
The Nepal Government agreed upon two proposals related to Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli's upcoming visit to China.
The Nepal cabinet approved the Chinese government's proposal to repair two 'Friendship Bridges' that connect the two nations. The bridges were damaged during the 2015 earthquakes.
The cabinet had also given the green signal to the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation to sign several projects that will be discussed upon during the Prime Minister Oli's visit to China.
During the visit, a 'Nepal-China Cooperation on Energy Sector' is slated to be signed, with hydroelectricity and cross-border transmission lines earmarked in the proposals.

June 12

2nd India-US colloquium on Earth Observations & Sciences for Society, Economy inaugurated
The second edition India-US colloquium on Earth Observations and Sciences for Society and Economy was inaugurated at CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO), Dona Paula Goa. The colloquium is being organized by the minister of earth sciences CSIR (Council of scientific and industrial research) – NIO and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The colloquium multi disciplinary event will bring together 200 delegates from india and US to address emerging ocean and earth science issue. It will help both countries to improve ocean and atmosphere observation that contribute to economic well-being of both nations through weather, climate, and ocean prediction, as well as fisheries management.

June 13

Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurates first office of defence PSU BEL in Vietnam
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the first Representative Office of Defence public sector, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), in Vietnam. Sitharaman handed over the symbolic key of BEL’s representative office in Vietnam (VIRO) to Gowtama M V, Chairman and Managing Director, BEL, during the Vietnam-India Defence Industry Business Meeting held at Hotel Melia, Hanoi.
The representative office will aim to promote BEL’s exports in areas such as weapons systems, radar systems, naval systems, military communication systems, electronic warfare systems, combat management systems and coastal surveillance systems.
BEL is India’s leading defence electronics company which is fast expanding its global presence, especially in South East Asian countries such as Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

India, Kazakhstan to enhance military-industrial cooperation
India and Kazakhstan have agreed to further develop bilateral cooperation in the military-industrial sphere.
The Embassy of Kazakhstan in New Delhi a release this agreement was reached during the fifth Joint Inter-Governmental Kazakh-Indian Working Group meeting on military-technical cooperation.
The Vice-Minister of Defense and Aerospace Industry Shaymergenov Timur led the Kazakh delegation at the talks, while the Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary (Planning and International Cooperation), Ministry of Defence, Shambhu Kumaran.
During the meeting both sides discussed prospects for cooperation between defence enterprises as well as further boosting interaction in the field of cyber security and peace making.

June 16

President Kovind leaves on 3-nation visit to Greece, Suriname, Cuba
President Ram Nath Kovind left on a three-nation 8-day visit to Greece, Suriname and Cuba.Which will be the first by an Indian head of state.
This is Kovind's fourth state visit as President and the first outside Africa. He will be the first Indian President to travel to Suriname and Cuba and the first to visit Greece since President Kalam in 2007.
In Greece, Kovind will hold a meeting with President Prokopis Pavlopoulus, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Leader of the Opposition Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
India-Greece bilateral trade stands at $530 million and some Indian companies are also present in the infrastructure, pharmaceutical and steel sectors in the central European nation.

Singapore e-Government to implement skill development programmes in India
The Singapore e-Government Leadership Centre (eGL) at the National University of Singapore's Institute of Systems Science (NUS-ISS) and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, government of India have come together to collaborate with each other on the skilling initiatives for India's workforce.
The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance the skills in India's workforce during India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Singapore from 31st May to 2nd June 2018.
They will work together to develop and implement skill development programmes across emerging technology areas like Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

June 17

SAARC fund to launch social enterprise programme in India and 7 other member nations
Thimpu-based SAARC Development Fund (SDF) will soon be launching a social enterprise development programme (SEDP) to fund 80 entities annually across the 8-member states including India.
SDF was established by the Heads of the eight SAARC member states in April 2010 and its Governing Council comprises finance ministers of these eight countries.
The SEDP will be implemented in all the SAARC member states with the objective of identifying and building social enterprises by using a mix of grants and concessional returnable capital.

India has trade deficit with 10 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members
India had trade deficit with as many as 10 member countries, including China, South Korea and Australia, of the RCEP grouping of 16 nations which have been negotiating a mega trade pact since November 2012.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) bloc comprises 10 Asean group members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners - India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

June 18

EAM Sushma Swaraj Embarks On 4-Nation Tour
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has left for a 4-nation tour to Italy, France, Luxembourg and Belgium. On her first leg of the tour, she will visit Italy. It will be the first major political exchange between India and Italy following the swearing- in of Mr Giuseppe Conte as Italy’s new Prime Minister.
She will be in France on the second leg and will meet her counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris to review the bilateral relations. Mrs Swaraj will reach Luxembourg on the 3rd leg and she will be visiting Belgium on the last and 4th leg.

Japan OKs economic plan that allows more foreign workers
Japan's Cabinet adopted an economic plan that would allow more foreign workers as the rapidly aging country seeks to make up for its declining workforce.
Under the plan, Japan would relax visa requirements in sectors facing severe labor shortages such as nursing care, agriculture, construction and transport - new categories it would start accepting in addition to highly skilled professionals.
Still, the decision underscores Japan's need to fill its labor shortage, forcing it to put aside its reluctance to accept outsiders.

June 19

Outrage as UK excludes India from relaxed student visa rules
The UK government has caused outrage with its decision to exclude Indian students from a new list of countries considered "low risk" in order to facilitate an easier visa application process to UK universities.
In changes to its immigration policy tabled in Parliament, the UK Home Office announced a relaxation of the Tier 4 visa category for overseas students from around 25 countries.
On a list already covering countries like the US, Canada and New Zealand, the Home Office has added on the likes of China, Bahrain and Serbia as countries from where students would face reduced checks on educational, financial and English language skill requirements to study at British universities.

India lines up Dornier aircraft for Seychelles
India is planning to gift a Dornier aircraft to Seychelles and explore trilateral cooperation involving France that will safeguard its strategic interests in the backdrop of President Danny Faure’s announcement to cancel the project to jointly develop a naval base on Assumption Island ahead of his June 25 Delhi visit.
India plans to gift Seychelles a Dornier aircraft this month - second such aircraft that could be gifted to the Indian Ocean Region.
An Indo-French-Seychelles trilateral cooperation may safeguard India’s strategic interests in the key Indian Ocean country amid China’s growing interests in the region.

June 20

US withdraws from United Nations Human Rights Council
The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council accusing it of a "chronic bias against Israel'', a move that activists warned would make advancing human rights globally even more difficult.
Standing with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley slammed Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt for thwarting US efforts to reform the council. She also criticised countries which shared US values and encouraged Washington to remain but "were unwilling to seriously challenge the status quo''.
The United States is half-way through a three-year term on the main UN rights body and the Trump administration had long threatened to quit if the 47-member Geneva-based body was not overhauled.

Dharmendra Pradhan on a visit to Austria and Germany
The Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan will lead an official delegation to participate in the 7th OPEC International Seminar organised by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as a special guest in Vienna, Austria.
India’s engagement with OPEC is important as India sources about 82% of crude oil, 75% of natural gas and 97% of LPG from OPEC member countries.
Pradhan will also visit Germany from 21-22nd June, 2018. He will visit Lapp Company – a German SME that has expanded onto the global stage; Vocational School ‘Berufsschule’ at Stuttgart and a Utility Company ‘Berlin Water and Energy supply’ wherein he will get acquainted with the apprentices training in the utility sector.
He will lead International Day of Yoga at Alexander Platz on 21st June, 2018, Berlin wherein he will take part in an event organised by Indian Embassy to promote Yoga.

June 21

India & Tajikistan agree to enhance mutual cooperation for sustainable water development
India and Tajikistan have reaffirmed their commitment to promote bilateral relations and agreed to enhance economic cooperation, particularly in sustainable water development.
Shri Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, held wide-ranging talks with Shri Sirodjidin Muhridin, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan in Dushanbe.
The two leaders underlined the need to give further impetus to the ongoing bilateral cooperation in various fields and agreed to enhance mutual cooperation in the area of sustainable water development.

June 22

India India, Russia join hands to promote integrated security system
India and Russia have decided to cooperate in area of integrated security system taking forward their decades old defence cooperation.
Russia's NIKIRET (branch of Production Company ''Start'' named after M.V. Protsenko, a subsidiary of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation) and India's CORE Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. signed a cooperation agreement to promote Technical Security Equipment (TSE) in India.
CORE Energy Systems will buy Technical Security Equipment from Production Company ''Start'' and promote it in India as an integrated security systems& solutions.

Sushma Swaraj, Nirmala Sitharaman to visit US for 1st 2+2 dialogue
The first India-US '2+2 dialogue' will be held and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will travel to the US to take part in the meeting that is likely to focus on strengthening strategic and defence ties.
The two sides are expected to share perspectives on strengthening their strategic and security ties and exchange views on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
Swaraj and Sitharaman will take part in the first meeting of the '2+2 Dialogue' with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James N Mattis.

June 23

Mongolia launches construction of first oil refinery with Indian aid
Mongolia launched construction of its first oil refinery, a long-awaited project that is funded by India and designed to end the country's dependence on Russian fuel. Ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh and the Mongolian Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa.
The refinery, in southern Dornogovi province will be capable of processing 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil each year,the state-owned company building the project. That is about 30,000 barrels per day (bpd).
The refinery will be small by international standards, with most Chinese facilities each processing hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude per day, and India's Reliance Industries running one refinery at a record 1.2 million bpd.

First-ever UK-India Week to promote bilateral trade and investments
A first-of-its-kind UK-India Week will be held in Britain next month to promote bilateral trade and investments through a series of events to be attended by ministers and professionals from both countries.
The events, to be held in London and Buckinghamshire between June 18 and 22, will culminate with the UK-India Awards to recognise individuals and organisations based in both countries that make a significant impact on the UK-India strategic partnership.