Topic– Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Cabinet approves ratification of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France.
- The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the ratification of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and France.
- The Agreement was signed in March, 2018 during the State Visit of the French President to India.
Significance of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement
- The Agreement represents a major milestone in enhancing people-to-people contacts, fostering mobility of students, academics, researchers and skilled professionals.
- It will strengthen cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides.
- It is a testimony to India’s rapidly expanding multi-faceted relationship with France and symbolizes the increasing trust and confidence between the two sides.
- The Agreement is initially valid for a period of seven years, incorporates provision for automatic renewal and a monitoring mechanism through a Joint Working Group
India- France Relationship Background
- Relations between India and France have traditionally been close and friendly.
- A strategic partnership was established in 1998 between both the nations.
- There has been a significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation and exchanges including in strategic areas such as defence, counter-terrorism, nuclear energy and spac
- France was the first country with which India entered into an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation following the waiver given by the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, enabling India to resume full civil nuclear cooperation with the international community.
- There is also a growing and wide-ranging cooperation in other areas such as trade and investment, culture, science & technology and education.
- France has consistently supported India’s increasing role in international fora, including India’s permanent membership of the UNSC.
- France supports India’s membership of Multilateral Export Control regimes- NSG and MTCR. Its support was vital in India’s admission to MTCR in 2016.
- Among the P-5 countries, France along with Russia has been extremely supportive of India s candidature of the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member.
- Within the framework of structured talks under the Indo-French Defence Cooperation Agreement several meetings on industrial collaboration and service exchanges are held regularly.
- Defence cooperation with France began in the 1950s when India acquired the Ouragan aircraft.
- France also provided and continued with the Mystères, Jaguar (Anglo-French), Mirage 2000.
- Both countries started joint naval exercises ‘Varuna’ in 1983.
- France was the first western country with which India established a Strategic Partnership.
- France helped India set up the Sriharikota launch site assisted in engine development and hosting of payloads.
- Defence cooperation between India and France increased Since 1980s after India adopted the policies of diversify its military procurement to reduce over-reliance on USSR.
- The new commitment to go beyond the buyer-seller relationship in the field of weapons procurement.
- Synergies between India’s large defence market and the French strengths in armament production.
Major defence deal with France
- India signed a deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets through government to government deal
- Under P-75 Scorpene Projectsix Scorpene submarines were to be built with technology transfer agreement.
- The first two submarine Kalvari and Khanderi have been built.
- Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL)manufacturing facility set up at Mihan in Maharashtra.
- DRAL is a joint venture between French aerospace firm, Dassault Aviation, and India’s Reliance Group.
- It is the first private facility for production of Rafale fighter jets and Falcon civilian aircraft.
- India and France involved in regular defence exercises, namely Exercise Shakti (Army), Exercise Varuna (Navy), Exercise Garuda(Air Force)
- ISRO and the French Space Agency (CNES) are cooperating for many decades.
- ISRO launched its GSAT-17 from French Launchpad Kourouin 2017.
- France is a major supplier of components and equipment for the Indian space programme.
Civil Nuclear Cooperation
- India-France relationship progressed through many landmark agreements like Strategic Partnership agreement 1998 and Civil Nuclear agreement 2008.
- After the 1998 nuclear test by India, France was the major nuclear country which understood India’s security compulsions for its nuclear test.
- France was the first country with which India entered into civil nuclear agreement following NSG waiver.
- General Framework Agreement and the Early Works Agreement between NPCIL and AREVA for the implementation Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP)were signed in 2010.
Indian Ocean Region
- France made India its preferred partner in the Indian Ocean Region.
- For the implementation of the White Shipping agreement, a French liaison officer has been appointed at the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurugram.
- The two nations further intend to coordinate their action at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
- Both countries undertake a joint project for reinforcing assets for combatting piracy and all kinds of maritime trafficking in the Southern Indian Ocean.
- France also intends to work concertedly with India at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), over which it will preside from 2020 to 2022.
Other areas of cooperation
- The India-France Administrative Economic and Trade Committee (AETC) provide an appropriate framework to assess and find ways to further promote bilateral trade and investment.
- India’s trade relationship with EU is mired in many roadblocks which are reflected in the stalled FTA negotiations with EU. This inertia also affects trade relation with France.
- Trade is highly concentrated in certain niche areas like defence supplies.
- In the backdrop of Brexit, France can act as an entry point for Indian businesses in Europe.
- PM Modi and France’s Emmanuel Macron agreed to significantly enhance people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges.
- The two leaders agreed to set up a regular dialogue on consular matters, which will facilitate exchange and mobility.
- Overall, around 700 000 Indian tourists visited France in 2018, and more than 250,000 French tourists visited India in the same year.
- India will be the Country of Honour for the 2020 edition of Livre Paris, the Paris international book fair.
- National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi will hold the first exhibition in India of French artist Gérard Garouste in January 2020.
- The Musée national d’art moderne (Centre Georges Pompidou) will hold a dedicated exhibition of the works of Indian artist Sayed Haider Raza in 2021.
- Further, India will organise Namasté France, in 2021-2022.
- France and India agreed to cooperate shooting of films in both countries.
- India and France are committed to effectively combat climate change and loss of biodiversity.
- India and France acknowledged the need for multi-level action – local, national, regional and global.
- France and India urged all stakeholders to contribute to the success of the Climate Action Summit convened by the United Nations Secretary-General on 23rd September 2019 and to encourage the global efforts towards combating climate change.
- India and France committed to accelerate the development and deployment of renewable energy.
- The International Solar Alliance has been established for capacity building and sharing of best practices to harness solar energy among the member nations.
- The defence cooperation with France focus to equip Indian Air Force and enhance its capabilities.
- The new Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will make India stronger and will give a boost to its air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region.
- The strong cooperation between India and France will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability.
- French social security laws, long-term student visas, and the facility to work for two-three years to pay off student loans are some of the areas that need to be worked out so that more effective cooperation can take place between the two countries.
Topic- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
2nd National GST Conference
2nd National GST Conference held for streamlining GST system.
- The 2nd National GST Conference of the Commissioners of State Tax and Chief Commissioners of Central Tax was held.
- The conference was focused on streamlining Goods and Services Tax (GST) system and plugging revenue leakages.
- It was aimed to– build synergy and to share their knowledge and best practices with the intent to bring about uniformity in tax administrations.
Highlights of Conference
- A panel of centre and state officials to be constituted for designing a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to check fraudulent GST refund claims and evasion of GST.
- A MoU would be signed among the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the GST Network to exchange data through the application program interface.
- The data would be shared on a quarterly basis, instead of being shared on a yearly basis.
- GST system will be aligned with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for the purpose of getting bank account details and transactions and also PAN-based banking transaction.
Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND)
- Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) is the central, national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analyzing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions to enforcement agencies and foreign FIUs.
- It was constituted in November 2004.
- FIU is not a regulatory bod
- Its task is to gather and share financial intelligence in close cooperation with regulatory bodies like RBI, SEBI and IRDA.
Topic– Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Press Brief on Operation Sankalp released
About Operation Sankalp
- Indian Navy had commenced Maritime Security Operations, code named Op SANKALP, in the Gulf Region Jun 2019.
- It was in the backdrop of the deteriorating security situation in the Gulf region, post attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Oman in Jun 19.
- Op SANKALP, in the Gulf Region was to ensure safe passage of Indian Flag Vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz.
Why Op Sankalp was launched?
- The operation has been launched in the wake of escalating tension in the Gulf of Oman, where two oil tankers were attacked recently.
- The U.S. considers Iran responsible for the attacks, heightening tensions between the two countries.
- Indian Navy Ships Chennai and Sunayna have been deployed in the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf to undertake maritime security operations.
- In addition, aerial surveillance by IN aircraft is also being undertaken in the area.
- The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region is also keeping a close watch on the movement of ships in the Gulf region.