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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS from THE HINDU IOTH September 2017 By Jatin Verma Educator Unacademy
Page-10:U.S.policy shadows Afghanistan talks India-Afghanistan Partnership Council: Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Salahuddirn Rabbani will arrive in Delhi to attend the India-Afghanistan Partnership Council meeting that has been delayed for years. The Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed in 20 No new decisions on defence supplies or security cooperation were likely during the talks which will end with a joint statement. U.S. role: All eyes will be on talks to discuss the way forward weeks after the U.S. President Trump unveiled his"new policy" for Afghanistan, where he proposed a larger role for India in development assistance to Afghanistan. First India-U.S.-Afghanistan trade expo Later this month,Afghanistan Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and a senior U.S. trade or commerce official will travel to India for the first India-U.S.-Afghanistan trade expo, funded by USAID Small Development Projects: The emphasis of the Partnership Council talks would be on "capacity building" for Afghan security forces in training and enhancing existing cooperation as well as about 287 "Small Development Projects (SDPs)" that India is is committing funding for including small dams, road and highway construction,agriculture, education and health of the SDP-Phase Ill that were signed in 2012
Air corridor issues:_The two sides will also discuss enhancing trade, especially the "air corridor" for freight that was inaugurated in June to circumvent Pakistan, and has faced teething troubles due to non-availability of cargo aircraft. However, the Afghan government has recently engaged private airline Kam Airways to carry freight, and Afghanistan would like to connect more Indian and Afghan cities including Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Herat for trade in cotton, fruit and dry fruit from Afghanistan and medical and electrical equipment from India. . In addition, two agreements will also be signed: [i]the Motor Vehicles agreement, announced in 2014, and [ilan agreement on Orbit Frequency Coordination for the South Asia satellite launched in May Medical Tourism: Mr. Rabbani will also raise the problems of Afghans travelling to India for medical care and students face in obtaining a visa as the process requires repeated visits to the Foreigners Regional Registration Offices (FRRO). The minister willrequest longer duration visas. .JWGs: Afghan Foreign Minister will be accompanied by 4 deputy ministers who head joint working groups on- -Trade and Economic Cooperation, -Capacity Development and Education, and tural, Civil Society and people-to-p
Page-12: Air Astana seeks easy visas for Indians. The airline expects to launch a flight to Mumbai in 2019, and aims to fly from Delhi and Mumbai every day to Astana and Almaty, operating up to 21 flights a week . It also carries business to Hyderabad and has a tie-up with Air India for transit/connect passengers . Mr. Foster has been urging the Kazakh authorities for an easier visa regime for Indian passport holders.
THE HINDU Section-ll World News: Qatar, Saudi spar after leaders talk Leaders in Qatar and Saudi Arabia spoke by telephone early on Saturday in their first high- level contact since an Arab diplomatic crisis engulfed Doha three months ago, but now even terms of what they discussed have created a new dispute After the call between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, next in line to the kingdom's throne, and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said Crown Prince Mohammed would talk to Bahrain, Egypt and the U.A.E the other Arab nations boycotting Qatar and then release details. The state-run Qatar News Agency immediately published details of the call, saying that Riyadh and Doha had agreed to send two envoys to discuss the dispute. Qatar said that call came after Mr.Trump personally spoke with Sheikh Tamim.The White House earlier acknowledged Mr. Trump spoke with Sheikh Tamim and Crown Prince Mohammed.
Middle East TURKEY . EGYPT SAUDI-' ARABIA OMAN SUDAN YEMEX
Business: India seeks more Chinese investments . In a bid to reduce the huge bilateral trade deficit with China, which, in the last fiscal, was a whopping $51 billion, the Centre has now sought greater investments from Chinese firms including in India's export-focused Special Economic Zones (SEZ). In a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Zhong Shan on the sidelines of the ongoing ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Manila, Indian commerce minister Suresh Prabhu called for greater Chinese investments in India and offered facilitating measures including in SEZs . It was earlier informed in Rajya Sabha in July 2014 that trade deficit can be reduced to sustainable levels through more exports from India to China, as well as by China's investing in building manufacturing capacities in India catering to specific demand in that country. was worth only $1.67 billion-or a minuscule 0.49% of the total FDI inflows of $342 billion . The aim was to then increase shipments from such manufacturing facilities in India to China by .However, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China in India between April 2000 and June 2017 during that period. . China had agreed to send a high-level official team led by Mr. Zhong Shan by December-end to New Delhi to address the issue of trade imbalance with India.
Economic group meetin Both sides agreed on holding a Joint Economic Group (EG) Meeting soon. In this regard, both ministers "agreed to set up product/sector specific Joint Working Groups to promote exports and bilateral trade." In Sept. 2014, during the India visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Joint Statement had stated that the Chinese side announced the establishment of two industrial parks in India It was also agreed to realise an investment of $20 billion in India in the next five years in various industrial and infrastructure development projects An MoU was inked in June 2014 on Cooperation on Industrial Parks in India, with a view to provide a platform for cluster-type development of the enterprises of both countries MoUs signed so far:In this regard, subsequently, MoUs were signed by Indian State Government Agencies and Chinese investors. These include: [i] MoU between Maharashtra govt & BeiqiFoton Motors, China for Auto Industrial Park in Pune, [i] MoU between Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb), Gujarat government and China Development Bank Corporation for supporting the setting up of Industrial Parks in Gujarat. [iii] MoU between iNDEXTb and China Small and Medium Enterprises (Chengdu) Investment Limited to set-up multi-purpose Chinese Industrial Park in Gujarat.
Business:Service obligation fund delaying BSNL projects, says official The USOF has been set up to fund projects to boost connectivity in rural and remote areas. The money for this fund comes through a levy that is charged from the telecom operators as a percentage of various licence fee being paid by themm. State-run telco BSNL has blamed delays in some of its key projects, including providing mobile connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh, 'on the indecisiveness from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)' It is due to indecisiveness from USOF the projects are getting delayed and even funds are not released in time. In 2014, the Cabinet approved a Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for the North-Eastern Region at an estimated cost of ,336 crore. The project, under which 6,673 mobile towers were to be set up in about 8,600 villages, was divided into two parts. While BSNL was to implement the strategically-important project in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam, in the other parts of the region it was to be executed by private operators. The project was to be funded by the USOF
. In an another project that aims to augment intra-island OFC in Anadaman and Nicobar Islands, the work has been awarded to a contractor who began implementation.The related MoU was submitted to the USOF in April 2017 but it was yet to be signed. Even the funds, which were to be given as advance, were not released as yet, the source added The Telecom Commission cleared a part of the North East mobile connectivity project under which 3,835 telecom towers would be set up in 4,502 unconnected villages in the North East, exceptArunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. . Bharti Airtel and its subsidiary had won the tender for this project, which would entail a cost of about R3,100 crore. However, the BSNL project was yet to get approval from the Commission.